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Abigail is right about objects important because of their links to memory.
Assignment: Material Things I need around me
Art, on my walls, is the first thing I see when I look around. I've always
gathered images around me. As a teen I filled the slanted ceiling of my attic
room with posters, postcards, and photos from Look and Life. I filled in with
my own sketches, doodles, and collages. Art is the first thing I added in this
new place. It's not ME, until I have some artwork up. Which artwork I
bond with changes over the years. I welcomed the out of state assignment that
required an apartment, because it gave me new walls to decorate. I took a couple
of old favorites with me, but relished the opportunity to buy some new pieces.
Boldly colored Asian pieces of solo women--symbolic perhaps of the necessity of
me being here while my husband is there (a realization I came to only as I wrote
it here). I added the photograph I took of Sedona's Seven Sacred Pools from our
last vacation. The red rocks and reflected sky blend well with the other images.
The vista I have constructed on my walls tells a story and sets a mood. It is me.
Pillows are a constant. I surround myself with them. On the couch, on the bed,
they are my cocoon of safety and comfort. I love the mix of colors and textures.
The firm ones to support my back, the soft ones to cuddle. The ones with messages
that make me smile. Some I make myself, but the real delight is when I'm shopping
and find an unique selection at a bargain price and it's just the right colors
to compliment my collection. I pack a pillow when I travel, so I don't have to
rely on the hotel's sub par offerings. The "heavenly bed" of one chain is my
ideal--they have as many pillows as I do. In a pinch (like on a plane) I will
roll up a jacket or sweater to stand in for a pillow. I may even use my purse
or a towel or even a suitcase. My husband jokes that I am nesting, but I can't
sleep on an empty bed.
Books are so basic, I almost forget they are always there. I read so much, so
fast, I can't keep enough of them around me. I have favorites I read over and over.
Books are mood altering substances. For this feeling, I read that book,
for lonliness, another. Bored? Read something new. Sad? Read something old and
familiar. I stole a book once from school (I took it back when vacation was
over), because it looked so interesting and it was the last day of school.
I lose track of time and forget my surroundings when I'm engrossed in a book.
I once zoned out on a whole Chipmunks lip-syncing performance because I got
hooked by the book I was supposed to be pretending to read (I was playing
Simon) and missed my cue. I buy books (instead of borrowing) because they
become old friends. I carry them with me and cherish their worn covers. They are
worn with love, soft with being carried in pocket and purse. I mourn for books
I didn't get to finish.
And always with me, I have a pen and pad. I never know when the urge to write will
strike. I love notebooks and legal pads and blank books and journals. I like
fountain pens, but they don't like me, so I use sharpies and fiber tips. I love
the swoop of ink on paper, filling the empty space with words and images. On
vacation I add drawing pads, pencils, conte sticks and color pens. A digital
camera lets me capture reference photos for color and texture. I use the shots
with the sketches to do paintings later. Sometimes I write a poem to go with
the image, sometimes I look for an image to go with a poem I've already written.
Having a picture helps me remember the trips, reminding me that it was real.
Things I've lost that I miss
My memories are rooted in objects. I need the photo or souvenir to anchor
the remembrance of that time. It may be just a pebble or seashell, but it links
me to that specific time, it distinguishes that moment from dreams or hopes.
Artwork bonds me to the person I was when I selected it, and the emotions
the piece arouses in me. I still feel the loss of artwork damaged by a flood
(or left with my exes). The damage of the first set was beyond repairing.
The loss of the second sets seemed trivial at the time, compared to the love
lost by the divorces.
Most poignant are the childhood toys and books my mother made me donate
to an orphanage. She decided I was "too old" to have them, but really it
was a punishment, who knows for what. No matter that she still had her first
doll stored in the big cedar chest at the foot of her bed. I covet that big
green book of fairy tales that I can't remember, and the memories of sitting
in the lap of the good sitter as she read to me. I wonder what happened to
that doll that was dressed like me. Losing them, I lost the memories of that part
of my childhood.
I need nearly the same things that you do. I differ about the pen and pad for writing; I prefer the computer because I can edit faster. In fact, if I had to choose between a television and a computer, I would go with the latter. Odd fact, that one. Come February I may just have the computer. Regarding the books: There were probably fewer than a dozen books in the home I grew up in--thank goodness for the library! When I got out on my own I overcompensated for this. Now I feel I have too many. I need more open space; so, I am going to sell some, donate a few, and keep the ones that are special and that I like to reread or share with friends. Much of my reading is done via internet now.