Sunday, April 10, 2011
I'm doing some Spring Cleaning.
The kind where you clean out the clutter. Unclog the mental drains. Let some air in.
I'm making space.
When I started the publishing journey, I told myself that when I sold a book, I would buy myself some wall-to-wall bookshelves. And they were built last week. 24 beautiful shelves. I can't put books on them until Wednesday, when the gajillion coats of paint are finally dry. But I expect that finally having a home for the stacks and stacks of books hovering on every child-free horizontal surface will be like pulling the clog out of a drain, letting everything else find a home or a garbage bag.
The old bookshelf is now upstairs in my closet, holding movies and hats. We're donating a big bag of movies, things we haven't watched in years. Our collection is hilarious. Who would admit to owning Dodgeball or I Was a Teenage Caveman or three copies of Total Recall?
Okay. Me, apparently.
Saying goodbye to 50 VHS cassettes hurts a little, though. I like VHS. You can't scratch or dent a cassette. They're harder to lose, harder to break. I still have the VHS cassette of The Princess Bride that I took on the tour bus for my 8th grade trip to Savannah, back when a movie took 4 years to come out on tape and cost $40. My wobbly, awkward, 13-year-old handwriting is still on it, with the phone number of the house where I grew up. And it's still watchable. I doubt I'll have a DVD in 22 years that will still be watchable.
It's hard to let go. My instinct is to hold on to things. Pretty things, memories, reminders. But our world is one in which almost anything can be found instantly online, including The Princess Bride. I used to spend 6 hours in front of MTV waiting for my favorite video. Now I can watch Thriller or Jeremy faster than I can actually type this sentence.
I worry that one day we'll live in a world that looks like an Ikea catalog, where we keep digital images of our favorite objects on cloud servers. Where we don't even have wobbly, awkward, 13-year-old handwriting to remind us of how scared we were to get on that tour bus where nobody really liked us, and yet we did it anyway. I'm all for evolving, but I always want to be able to touch things and remember.
So I'll pick and choose from what can go and what can stay. Total Recall can go.
The Princess Bride will always have a place on my shelf.