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 . . .


  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.


  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.


    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™‚


      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?


  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.


  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˜‰


    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.


  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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