Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Dilettante Collector

I read something the other day about a guy who collected comic books very assiduously for many years. They were stored in very optimum conditions for a long time, too. His family is now ready to sell them for millions although they have found out that some are missing. And because he obsessively made some small cryptic pencil marks on each and every one, his heirs were able to trace them and it was probably some contractors who were 'alone with the collection' who pilfered them. I can't find this story online just now or I would link to it. So what does that have to do me anyway?

Well, that's not the kind of collector I am. I don't stick to collecting anything with that kind of single-minded diligence. Unfortunately I am tempted to save things because they might be (pick one) useful / valuable / interesting later. And I might start collecting something...say cocktail shakers, globes, bendable posable figures, etc. and amass quite a few of them without a clue about what I should be saving or discarding, how to store them, etc. I feel like a lot of times I discard something just before it becomes valuable.

I have decided to seriously get rid of stuff. We've been cleaning out the garage. We've tossed a lot of stuff, given away a lot of stuff. We are trying not to worry if it will ever be valuable, useful, sentimental. A 10x10 climate-controlled storage unit in downtown Austin goes for $377 per month. We want to move downtown one day. I must get rid of stuff. I have too much stuff. If some of it is useful, I can never find it when I need it.

I will admit, however, that it is interesting to find a box in the garage containing my tax returns from before I married and the Christmas cards I got over a decade ago. As I looked through the latter, I choked up at notes written by people who have died. I wondered at a photo of someone that I simply don't recognize. Well, OK, she is vaguely familar. But I can't save all this stuff. It's going to be hard enough to decide what to do with boxes and boxes of bendable, posable figures. Every time I go through the stuff, less and less survives. Oh, I'm going to save some things all right. But I don't think I have to worry about any contractors stealing a million dollars worth of collectibles. And that's a good thing.

I don't think dabblers end up with million-dollar collections. I once wrote a poem about me and my attention span for organizing and doing. You can see it here but I'll also reprint it here in blogger-land where I seem to spend most of my time writing to you.

Dabbler, Babbler, Dilettante
Flitting about
Cannot stop.
Focus Free
Excuse me,
I must hop!

No comments: