The desire to purge overwhelms both collectors and those who simply collect.
I remember when, several years after we moved to Maryland, my mother just started throwing things away. It scared me. It still scares me.
But I think I understand why the impulse arises. This is what Bob Mould, pop-punk legend and present-day electronic music advocate, has to say today:
It's almost time for spring cleaning - I've got a good head start on it already. The detritus that I surround myself with, it needs to be jettisoned. Ticket stubs, contracts, airline boarding passes, CD's never opened, box after box of nonsense - where are I am going to take this stuff to? Where is the final resting place for these receipts? Another storage space in another storage place I lived for a little bit of time, hoping to find some peace of mind? Running toward something better, or walking away from something less?I feel the weight of the past too, but I still believe it's my burden.
I used to think that the sum of all these pieces would be some sort of roadmap, like a scrapbook, telling others where I'd been - some fabulous journey, a rich and traveled life, full of adventure and excitement. Now I worry that the hard drive on my laptop might be ready to go, and that concerns me so much more than the thought of losing all those documents, those reminders. It's about the moment I'm in right now, and so much less about the moments behind me. I've never been big on looking back, though I seem to surround myself with physical reminders (packed in boxes).
I'm feeling the weight of the past, and I'm beginning to throw it out.
Maybe I'm afraid that, once I start throwing things away, I won't stop until I've thrown everything away.