Second: Culling one's things does, though, lend an opportunity to meldone's identity. Keep the letter from Diana Vreeland's office, the Polaroid from the party at Muppet mansion, a signed book from former Tonight Show host Steve Allen (I was his press agent during a media blitz in NYC), a signed copy of Arnold Schwarzenegger's first book on bodybuilding (I was writing an article for Glamour), a letter from Princess Diana's office, a violet-feathered notecard from Elizabeth Taylor and other fun missives through the years.
I'm holding onto my 14 issues as editor of Times of Brunswick for the venerable boys' school at which I loved working, as well as a manifold of other magazines where my stories have appeared. Also keeping manuscripts from the Bonni Library:
- "La Vraie Beaute (or The Quest for Resplendence")
- "The Herringbone Adventure: A Novelette"
- "Lincoln: The Car, The Man, The Tunnel" (illustrated by snister Pamela Kogen)
- "The One and Lonely"
- "A Girl Like Her: Friends of Anita Loos Talk"
- "Maplewood Summer"
- "Subway Surfer (And the Pursuit of Underground Thrills)" (for an MTV song)
- "Rainflake * Snowdrop" script (was slated to go up at the 78th Street Theatre Lab)
- and more ...
In one box in the barn I found old love letters from lovers long gone. THOSE are getting tossed. Why have I kept them for 30+ years? Like I really want to relive some of the aftermath breakup memories? Even worse ... what if my children read the letters? I've gone pure on this front: I'm only keeping love letters from my husband.
Then there are the porfolios from art school in Aix-en-Provence, France and drawings galore from college art classes. WHY do I need them in my current life? It is greatly relieving to let them go. Bye-bye bad still life a la Cezanne and awkward real-life drawing of naked man sitting on a high stool with fabric swathed over it. And do I really want to re-read aerogrames on light blue tissue-y paper sent to my parents while living overseas?
I also found a pile of old journals. WHY would I want to re-read some of my worst years as a 7th grader at Maplewood Junior High School? It was empowering to say, "I'm cutting this chapter out of my life. Goodbye, journal!" and give it a high toss into the garbage can, which will get thrown out at some point, too.
Trying with all my might to simplify the burden of "things" and lighten the load. What we really have and need we carry within. Holding onto my Albert Schweitzer troll from a 4th grade diorama has no impact on my life as an empty nester.
Or does it???? Okay, okay. I'll keep it.