I’m one of those folks that has a (bad) habit of hanging on to things far longer than I should. I’ll look at something that I’ve had on a shelf or in a closet and know full well that I am likely never to need/use it. BUT… I just can’t bring myself to get rid of it. What if I end up actually needing it? Is it something I can replace if I ever want it again? Is it really hurting anything by just staying where it’s at in case I need it?
The reality is that in more cases than not, I absolutely should get rid of some of the $hit I have on shelves and stuffed in closets. In some cases – more recently, because I’m getting better about it – I have gotten rid of some stuff. (I still have a long way to go) My only motivation, though, might have been just to have space for the next item that I want, but I have gotten rid of stuff that was ultimately serving only two functions, collecting dust and taking up space.
There have been a few things, though, that I have absolutely refused to part with, and I have kept them for years. One category of items is books. I don’t have a huge collection of books, but I have many. Most are role-playing game books (D&D, etc.). Others are books from my favorite authors (Feist, Brooks, Zahn and others). Some of these books I have not picked up in years, and we’re talking about some of these being 30+ years old. They’ve moved with me from place to place, and ended up on shelves in an area of the home that my wife has deemed acceptable. I simply refuse to get rid of them. Having them is a comfort, I suppose. They contain great memories, especially the RPG books. Great stories, read and wrought, have come from these books. I am not likely to ever get rid of them. It will be a burden my daughter will have to deal with when I am no longer able to live.
The other array of things I have kept over many years are the mental expulsions I have put onto paper – both cellulose and electronic. This collection contains the results of musings, inspiration and/or motivation from many role-playing game campaigns and my less than stellar attempts at smithing words. Like the books, this collection possesses memories of things from a major portion of my life. I can remember great times sitting at the table with my players when I look at some of my old game notes. I look at a poem or snippet of story idea and, love it or hate it, remember that writing is part of who I am, no matter how poorly I perform that act.
Well, hanging on to this stuff has helped inspire/motivate me a bit again. I have been lacking in my endeavor to craft some yarns. So hanging on to this stuff might have actually been worth it… to me, anyway. I found half-drawn maps of my fantasy world the other night. I have since spread them out on a table and started working on them again. This inspired a post about Welandar – the kingdom in this world where my ideas are trying to manifest – here – and a story here that I am going to put in that world. I’m hoping I’ll stick with it now that I’ve grown older… and maybe up a bit 😉
So, I guess the point I’m trying to make – if there is a point to this ramble – is that hanging on to certain things is a good thing. My advice, though, is to figure out what those things are and work on clearing out the rest. It might just make room for more good stuff. There is nothing wrong with hanging on to things that remind you of good times or inspire you to do something you enjoy.