the things you keep which are not yours

11 thoughts on “the things you keep which are not yours”

  1. I recall coming to a decision that I should go at once and burn all my diaries β€” about 35 years’ worth, on and off. I felt terrified and elated, imagining the imminent pain and liberation. Then I talked to a close friend and she said, Don’t. You’ll regret it. Hide them under my floorboards if you want to be rid of them for now. I did neither. The urge subsided. I wonder what does happen if you burn all your journals . . .

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  2. Wow. I trashed a bunch of old writings finally when I realized that by hanging onto them I was actually holding myself back as a writer. I was thinking “Gosh, if only I could replicate that story…” when I should have been going “I can do better. I can go deeper.” It was nice.

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  3. Thanks for this interesting post, Helen. It’s given me a lot to think about. We moved from NZ to the US 2 years ago and I got rid of a lot of stuff, including “family heirlooms” but I still feel like I have a lot of things that, if I hadn’t inherited them, I probably would not have gone out and acquired. Part of the reason I haven’t got rid of them I think is that sense of obligation, that I have been appointed their “guardian”. At the same time I destroyed most of my journals, and I have to say that I don’t miss them at all. About the gloves, and the nibs – I would say, if you have the room, keep them. They are interesting artifacts, with a story attached, and you can pass them on to the next generation when you/they are ready. Otherwise the local museum might like to have them.

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    1. I’m interested that you don’t miss your journals, Mel. Looking back over mine, the early ones from my early twenties, I mainly find cringey and embarrasing, but the ones since I had kids I value a lot – there is a lot in there which helps me with now and shows me how much I’ve learned and grown. Maybe I should ditch the cringey ones? πŸ™‚

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      1. Hmm, well I had the experience of clearing out a loved one’s estate a few years ago, and now, when I think about something like that, I ask myself, if something happened to me, would I want anyone else to read this?

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  4. I have my grandmother’s ashes up in the attic. It’s ugly – made of mahogany veneer with a tacky brass name plate. But I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. Partly because my grandmother doesn’t have a grave marker – we scattered her ashes in the Karori rose gardens – and partly because I feel superstitious about it, as I do about a lot of family heirlooms, like part of my grandmother is still trapped inside it. I’m sure she’s in my writing box, the one with the broken hinges. But then I smashed her hairpin jar and nothing happened. I have been quite ruthless about getting rid of old design work when once I held onto it. I suppose you just have to have faith that you will be writing more, making more, and it will be better! I think you remember the good ideas, or at least the essence of them somehow infuses later work.

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  5. I have a whole box of Roadslapper archives, S! Maybe I could release that to the universe via our next bonfire. lol! I have photographs and memories of that – surely I don’t need all the paperwork, too? πŸ˜‰

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    1. What kind of archives? I sometimes wonder what precisely we said. I can’t remember – I know there was something about the Smiths. I can just remember the songs and the magazine. Also I reread my comment and I realised I should have said ‘urn’ not ‘ashes’. Duh.

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  6. Everything! Even our rough drafts when we did writing exercises together to come up with the script.

    I got what you meant – urn not ashes.

    I always thought your family heirlooms were pretty cool, like frocks and handbags and jewellery.

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