The first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a
Partridge in a Pear Tree and a whole bunch of other stuff I didnt
really need. I think I have too much stuff. All my life Ive
been collecting stuff.
Back in time, when I was in Grade School I got to work as a humble
Page in my school library, which was a subset of the Chatham Public
Library. There I learned to repair books and shelve books according
to the Dewey Decimal System. I developed a taste for the peppermint
library paste. It was not harmful, being a lot like flavoured flour
paste. I used it to apply leatherette to book spines. When books were
past mending and no longer popular, or dated, guess who got her pick
of the discards? Yes, me! The discards were happily added to my personal
book collection. I guess you can tell I liked books ??
My book collection, now the size of a small elephant, started back
there. I found a second-hand store that had antique books, not good
books but interesting books because they were old. Someones
collection of sermons, in an old binding with yellowed pages, with
the stamp of history upon it. You dont read it. You just collect
I started in on records, 78 rpms at first and then 33 1/3rds. I collected
Gene Autry and popular jazz. Stuff, stuff, stuff! The stuff was starting
to pile up a bit.
When I moved to New York I became moderately expert at finding stores
that sold odd things, Ethiopian crosses and strangely patterned fabrics,
and so forth. I collect fabrics because I sew. In collecting the components
of a hobby, you end up with a stash. If your hobby is knitting you
end up with a wool stash. If youre into sewing or quilting,
then its a fabric stash and on it goes.
Like my mother, I have had multiple crafting and hobby ventures throughout
my life. I remember that one of her crazes was for shell jewellery.
My mother collected tiny little shells that came from beaches in Florida
and elsewhere. She bought a lot of these shells when she went to Florida
on vacation. They were dyed in pretty pastels pink and blue
and yellow and green. Using aeroplane glue, all are put together on
a piece of clear round plastic. This would become a rose made up of
little coloured shells with little green shell leaves. These shell
rosettes were quite attractive. Not built for the ages but while they
lasted, they were nice.
Ive gone through, oh my goodness, so many hobbies. One was
cloth doll making, the components of which take in almost every art
and craft, so you end up with materials from painting, stitching,
beading, weaving and you name it. It all goes into a design and an
embellished cloth dolly comes out at the other end, a so-called art
I started knitting. I have 4 bins of wool Im unlikely to knit
it all, and theres always more wool to buy. My Stitch-and-Bitch
group every now and again has a yarn swap where everybody tries to
get rid of their extra yarn, their stash. They end up walking away
with more yarn than they came in with. Everyone has come in with their
extra yarns and theyre begging you to take their yarn and you
do. Thus, instead of diminishing my stash, I somehow increase it.
I remember collecting spices. I use 5, at the most 10, common spices,
condiments, herbs and so forth, in my cooking. Still, I had to have
them all because some recipe someplace, sometime, would probably need
fennel, so I got some, as well as everything else featured on the
stores spice shelf. They sit around for years. I have more than
one spice rack where they all sit in alphabetical order. Sometimes
they are useful. If I happen to need ground cloves, there it is. Others
I will never use but I had to have them. Its called being a
completist. You must have them all or the collection is
When I worked downtown, I made more money than I needed to live on
and, instead of sensibly saving it, I would go out each lunch hour
and look for something to buy. Something to buy was usually books.
I haunted the sales tables in bookstores. I have shelves and shelves
of books. Im gradually now giving them away. I try to find out
whether they are going to good homes because books are sacred. You
dont burn them. You dont throw them away. You pass them
on. Im trying to do that.
I was a seller, for about a year on eBay. My main stock items, aside
from doll patterns I was no longer using, were books. I did well because
I had a really large occult book collection. There are people out
there in search of a means to power who really dig this stuff. Occult
magazines were collectors items and sold well.
Speaking of magazines, I was into cross-stitch, and I had to have
all those magazines and innumerable patterns. I have a pile of maybe
ten cross-stitch projects on the go, many of them Ill never
finish. I sort of nibble away at them from time to time. That fever
has passed. I no longer need to cross-stitch all the time. Part of
that need came from a pseudo-fibromyalgia caused by the Statin pills
I was taking for blood cholesterol. They gave me muscle weakness and
pain. All I could do was sit in a corner and cross-stitch for about
nine months. Other activities were too much. Then, I figured out it
was the pills, after reading several reports on the Internet. Sometimes
Internet medical advice is correct, not always but sometimes. I threw
the pills away and I was better in two days.
I have a lot of cross stitch and embroidery stuff, also books on
the blues and music in general and books on folk music. I have an
awful lot of reference books on everything from wild birds to pharmacopoeias
that I got before the Internet was as popular as it is now.
Now, I collect graphics from the Internet and Mp3s which I buy legitimately
online to avoid possibly picking up nasty viruses from the free ones.
I have lots and lots of software, much of which I also buy online.
I need an ever-increasing hard drive size to fit in all this stuff,
much of which I use once and then forget. Still, you never know when
you might need it. Software that I do use is just utilizing the tip
of the iceberg. The rest remains unknown to me while I just twiddle
around fixing the colour balance on some photograph or some other
Im trying to get rid of my stuff. I really am. One of these
days Im just going to have to bite the bullet and toss out all
that stuff, like the obsolete computer hardware sitting around in
bins. There is a lot of computer hardware stuff the purpose of which
Ive forgotten: all of that has got to go bye-bye. Im hoping
to have a technical friend of mine over to look at it and tell me
what it is and if its okay to throw it out.
Just cataloguing what I have is an effort in itself. I must simplify.
I must practice non-attachment. I must get rid of all this stuff.
I dont own stuff. Stuff owns ME!