A distinct memory accompanied each poster, concert ticket and postcard I removed from the walls of my childhood bedroom. At twelve years old I started to create a massive collage with the walls that would eventually take up every inch of space covering multiple layers that lasted until the day I moved out on my own.
My parents had finally sold their house that I grew up in just ten minutes from Center City Philadelphia. The gargantuan dismantling efforts to clear my bedroom had begun and I started to become overwhelmed. It was true, most of the things in the room I didn’t need. My apartment already had everything deemed essential, but I decided I would keep the concert and airline tickets and postcards and books, of course.
Bag after bag of trash, from physical CDs and their cases to old band posters and magazine clippings, worn clothes and shoes that no longer fit, useless pieces of technology that five or six years ago would have been worth money. It wasn’t until I reached my journals filled with notes from college literature classes, short stories, fiction notes for future stories, the prologues to potential novels, personal entries, prayers, writings and stories from Middle School and letters throughout the ages that I just had to stop altogether.
A sudden anxiety engulfed my heart as I turned over the pages and read the scribbled excited notes connecting illusions and allusions in English literature, the sacred writings to my own ideas worthy of so much potential and world changing glory. How could I let these slip away? I always naturally kept these documents with no intention of ever getting rid of them. They piled up in drawers in my closet and on shelves in manila envelopes collecting dust. Rich artistic treasures, the archives of a lifelong writer, recordings from a mind plagued with inspiration and wanderlust sat stored away, waiting to be re-opened and re-worked, sculpted to their fullest earthly potential.
“I can’t throw ANY of this out,” I said, taking a deep breath and wiping my brow of dust and sweat. The dismantling would have to wait to be finished another time. I was not quite ready.
Even if I never found the time to look at those documents again, they are some of my most treasured possessions. Not my car or the money in my bank account but these hundreds of notebooks and pages of mangled, scribbled, faded words, a mix of fiction, an overflow of the imagination and deep personal revelations meant the most to me.
“It sucks being a writer,” I said, sitting on the floor, surrounded by the notes and papers, journals and documents. I didn’t choose this life, it chose me long ago, and I had absolutely no say in the matter.