yes, i know it’s no surprise that my thesis work is made of stuff that i’m made of.
in my core samples course, we were asked to write about materials that we tend to collect/hoard/obsess over.
apparently, i have no trouble daydreaming…& you?
My mother is a knitter. When I was growing up, every summer she’d spend her days sitting in a beach chair under a tree knitting sweaters for my sister and myself. We’d each get one and we rarely loved them. In June she’d take us to a yarn store and let us go through the pattern books. We would do our best to find one that looked most like a Benetton original and envision the catalog models wearing shoulder pads under their wool. The next part was my favorite: searching for the yarn. I’d let my mother and sister fight over my sister’s choice of trendy sweater and head for the walls of wool hands first.
I’d pick my yarn by color first. Group together a pile of blues and turquoises and sea greens and leave them in a heap on an empty corner of shelf. Then I would attempt to gather them up in my arms, walk them over to a chair, deposit my stash and go back for a second sweep. This color-choosing of yarn was always deceptive as my fondness for certain skeins could fade in volume by the end of the next sorting process and so it was unwise to get too attached to an idea of color. It was the feel of the yarn was most important to me. This would be the thing that I would be most aware of when wearing the sweater. I would close my eyes and hold the yarn in my hands and pick the one that felt right. I usually ended up with the softest of soft that felt like being inside of milkweed pods or burrowing in llamas during a snowstorm.
Even before Polaroid stopped making instant film I have been an infamous hoarder of the stuff. There is something about the way that they capture and reveal moments in an “instant” that makes them seem dangerously disposable. They defy speed and are fired off like bullets in a pre-semi-automatic movie; shooting out of the camera until the cartridge is empty and you have no more hope. They are precious and plastic which is rare.
I have a fortune. The vegetable crisper, dairy and meat drawers in my refrigerator hold no food and instead house royal blue bricks of cardboard boxes making my refrigerator always look deceptively full. The mother load is sequestered out of state so as to limit temptation or wasteful use. Technology has forced me to be shrewd.
Often my land cameras will misfire. It’s as sad as a dropped buttered bagel face down on the kitchen floor. I keep these blank pictures and try to defend them to their pack-mates. They are milky and eternal. Both warm and cold.
I have a compulsion of gathering sea stones. When I leave any beach my bag is always far heavier than it was on my arrival. I try not to complain. I’ll see them on the sand — perfect, smooth, egg-like and fit for the hand and with a surface that was made waveless by the ocean and meant to be touched— and I have no choice but to grab them up greedily and stash them away. I know that I need them.
Once home, I bathe them in my kitchen sink and then dry them with my dish towel. I know they don’t need this but I believe that they appreciate the concern for their comfort and well-being as well as the time that I take while looking out for these needs. I arrange them on my windowsills or tabletops or bookshelves as temporary homes until I realize my use for them. This summer I ran out of room in the regions of their normal haunts and started making nests of rocky orbs behind my pots and pans.