Friday Letter to my Kids ~ 2/13/15 ~
Dear J, J, L and L,
My favorite three-year old gifted me these origami cranes a while ago. No, she’s not an origami master, but her mother’s pretty handy in all things crafty. They’ve got a few of these hanging around at their house. Using paper that’s been previously written on adds value to the pieces. I can make out a few words but would have to completely dismantle the crane to read what it actually says. That’s kind of where origami began, as a way of sending a message where the reader would know if it had been read because the folding sequence would be out of whack.
I love paper. Notebooks, book books, notecards, drawings, sticky notes, envelopes. (Not so much a fan of mail though, bills, advertisements, newspapers.) You probably knew that.
I’ve always liked the idea of handcrafted papers, I love their textures and the uniqueness of each page. It’s as if the blank paper is already art and whatever you write on them enhances or is enhanced by the medium it’s written on.
Did you know paper once was a very rare commodity? I learned that recently. Kind of made me want to hoard a few notebooks.
Oh, wait. I already have a paper stash. Actually more like a used paper warehouse. But you know that. You lived with it all your growing up years. And it’s not really a stash, it’s more of a paper monster.
I’m slowly getting it tamed. Pulling such a beast into a submissive state takes willpower and courage and a few other gifts I’m rather sketchy on.
Several weeks ago I finally cleared my desk. By clearing I mean that I took everything off the desk and made a ginormous pile behind me to sort through. I’m hoping most of it ends up in the recycle bin. A few too many papers have migrated back to the desk already, in no particular order. And a smaller “to be sorted” pile emerged from the first gigantic “to be sorted” pile.
Your dad says he can see progress. He’s so kind to me. I’m not so sure there’s any improvement.
Also, in the garage, I plan condense a shelf of ten boxes of random papers into one or two file boxes of organized documents, and then fill the recycle bin to the top two or three times. I think I have twenty years worth of Christmas cards among those boxes. Pretty certain I don’t need them all.
Do you ever wonder if a hundred years from now paper documents will appear on Antique Roadshow as something stunningly rare and worth zillions. If future archeologists uncover my garage or my office they’d feel like they found the mother lode of paper.
Here’s the thing, which probably sounds like justification or excuses to you, but it’s the truth. Bunches of those papers have this magical power over me because they’re from one of you. I could probably part just fine with the school papers and class assignments. But the notes you’ve written to me or your dad, the pictures you drew, those snippets of “who you were” need organizing and special care. Does that sound dumb? I’m sure it sounds so stupid.
Simply letting all those papers go into the recycle bin somehow feels as if I’m letting parts of you slip through my fingers. Nonsense, yes, I know that.
If I could approach the task as a museum curator perhaps I could finally succeed in whittling away the amount of papers I have squirreled away.
- select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition)
- select the performers or performances that will feature in (an arts event or program).
- select, organize, and present (content, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge
Perhaps, with that sort of thinking I could manage the task of taming the paper monster. Maybe my kid museum could be one binder per child. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
I’d classify my interaction with paper as a love/hate relationship. As I attempt to tame the monstrous paper fiend that hides in the garage (and the smaller but equally tenacious paper boogie man in my office) I hope to find some balance and health in the process.I could whip that paper monster into shape until it’s a warm, fuzzy, unthreatening thing in my life.