Watts (chipotle) wrote,

Yesterday I went to have dinner with mom and her girlfriend. It was a good dinner, and a relaxing time; my mother's tentatively offered to come down and help me pack, which I might just take her up on, even knowing that she'll probably look around and go "Oh, my god!" at all the things that aren't packed yet. The friend I'm moving in with already gave me a key and suggested I could move stuff over; I might start taking some of the weird fragile things over now, temporarily ducking the issue of how to pack them.

I've done a lot of throwing-out, of course, and have more to do; I'm not taking any food items unless they're relatively rare and well-sealed. I think the kitchen packing will be pretty simple, though. I'm out of trash bags already and will have to get another 10-pack, and I think I see a couple more knick-knack boxes in my future. And most of what's left in the outside closet is going to just be quietly disposed of: things that haven't been seen in years (and haven't been air-conditioned for most or all of that time, a potentially serious problem in Florida), huge empty boxes that are either decayed or have no tops and are thus useless for the cross-country move. Traditionally I've moved my TV and stereo around in the back of whatever car I've had; I can duck that issue the same way for the move to Clearwater, but the TV and DVD player will need new boxes for the cross-country move. (Not that it sounds like I'll need them at Tugrik's place unless I want them set up in my bedroom.) Hmm. I'll need something for the speakers, too, before the cross-country trip: haven't kept a single box for those.

I've written about the "throwing out" part more than the "packing" part of moving because it's much more emotional work. Frequently I come across something like, say, the manuscript for the first novel I tried to write, when I was a senior in high school. This was about 80 pages complete, with another 40 single-spaced pages of notes (!); I can't remember the novel's name at this point. I usually thought of it as "the elf book."

This has a lot of subjective value to me. It created several characters, at least two stories, was even a freeform roleplaying game I did with David a few times (awkwardly, as I recall, although looking back David did pretty well in what little we got through). And--for the time I wrote it--it wasn't bad. The stuff I did even a couple years later in college was a quantum leap over it, of course, and it played off the hoariest trends at the time--a character from modern times plunged into a high fantasy setting. Even so, every time I saw it, I decided I couldn't quite part it with it. Maybe it could be salvaged into something adult and useful. It was a material piece of my personal history, what inspired me to keep bumbling toward being a writer. (Naturally, when I was in college, I imagined I'd be a full-time novelist by the time I hit 30.)

But I realized that I only saw it when I moved: when I was going through boxes "looking for things to throw out." Like so many other papers from that era, it simply stayed in the box, or perhaps got transferred to new boxes.

From the time some papers I've been going through were created, I've moved from home, to the college dorm, to the apartment with Raven, to my grandmother's after I dropped out, to the apartment with Tacit (née Turtle), back to home, to the apartment with David (long after the aforementioned roleplaying game), to an apartment shared with Donovan and Higgins, and finally to my apartment here, flying solo for the last six years. Sometimes the papers stayed at my mother's or grandmother's, catching up with me later--which speaks volumes about their objective usefulness.

And I know a few of these papers are still coming with me. I have a box for important papers, finally, a file box, and I've put notes for unfinished stories from a decade ago in the box, if I can tell myself there's even a slim chance I might go back to it.

But the elf book wasn't among those. No elf book, no old roleplaying notes, no high school and college literary magazines, no TRS-80 (or CP/M or even MS-DOS) software.

A lot of this throwing-out exercise has felt freeing. There are times, though, it feels, if not quite like murdering your children, like taking your dog to the pound.

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