on collecting stuff
Shortly after getting married and getting pregnant, we bought a shredder for all of the medical bills we were receiving. It filled up and I put the shreds into a zip-lock, thinking I might eventually make them into paper. After a year or so I realized I had inadvertently collected all of the bills and statements since our daughter’s conception – or since our marriage, it’s hard to say. Similarly, once she was born and we lived an apartment with in-building laundry, I started to collect the dryer lint, thinking it could be made into clay or something. That turned out to be a gross idea, but suddenly I had my daughter’s life in laundry lint.
Gradually, I’ve added other household items to the collection. Used coffee filters, receipts, lists, discarded clothing and rags. As I become more attentive to the life I’ve found myself in, I notice the life cycle of the objects and materials we use. I hope someday to reuse them, but for now am content to harvest them from our life, to dry them, push them into bags and folders, and stash them in cupboards. I consider them data which is yet to be decoded.