Posts from Memory Lane: Sifting Through Old Papers...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

These posts were written during the summer while I was in Bangladesh, in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Long story short: when I looked back at the archive, I didn't have the desire or the time to put them up. But now, since I'm coming back to the blog, I decided that some of them aren't half bad. Read on!

Sometimes, I get into a special fever where I need to organize my papers and/or computer files. Right that instant. Even if there's something else more important going on, I just can't tear myself away from this organizing task. And woe to the person who tries to interrupt me in my quest.

I recently got into one of these manic moods and started reorganizing my computer folders. Needless to say, things had been piling up. Labels were all out of wack. There were things from high school in the college folder and tufts of Word documents that had no proper place, just floating in my less-than-infinite computer memory. And there too, amidst all the debris, were the glowing embers of The Past.

Another thing about me is my desire to collect everything. Objects and files and trinkets from The Past are my favorites. Even if I'll never open that essay I wrote in my sophomore year of high school, it's still readily at my disposal in one of my computer folders. Yep, just waiting there from years and years ago, collecting dust and taking up (virtual) space.

Sometimes this is a blessing - I find some nugget of inspiration or written piece that I want to take up again and make use of in the Here and Now. Sometimes it just makes me feel old. But each time I look at those collections of things, I wonder to myself: what is the purpose of this?

At first, I thought it might be my peculiar desire to spend a lot of time reflecting on The Past, thinking that if I let go of something then I'll forget/lose part of the story. But now I think that there's something else to it. It relates to minimalism. Over the years, I've made the conscious decision to downsize my possessions - not to an extreme, but enough so that traveling coast to coast is made a lot easier. And the things that I generally choose to keep (aside from the practical items like cups and bowls) are those most important memory objects.

I re-purpose them. I make art out of them. I find myself up-cycling and ripping out and drawing over and whatever other process pleases me to incorporate them into my current life. As one article I read posits: the solution to consumerism is not minimalism, it's art. And, at least for me, the way that I balance out making my life a little tighter around the edges is to upgrade The Past into new forms every time it comes across my path.

It's a little bit like making peace.

And who knows, maybe one day I'll actually use that sophomore year English essay.