Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Waste Not

While I am cleaning rugs and sketchy basement floors, my friend Joyce has agreed to write a guest post on a subject that is terrifying to us both: the memory thing. Forgotten Christmas gifts. Forgotten appointments. Found objects that we do not remember buying. Garage door up or down? Car locked?

Our children cast a gimlet eye as we protest we do NOT remember commiting to babysitting or remember an event that they told us about a week/day/minutes before.

As long as I remember who Joyce is, I am somewhat reassured that we are in this brain dilemma together. Hers is compounded, however, by her love of and creation of many, many forms of ART. Textile, mostly. But that is only the starting point for many, many other projects. All lovely, by the way. But we are both in need of a professional organizer and, possibly, a personal assistant. Preferably hunky. I can share.

Here's Joyce:
In the immortal words of Dan Quayle, "It's a terrible thing to lose one's mind.  Or not to have a mind at all."  Though he was trying to quote, and mangling, the American Negro College Fund's tag line, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste," Dan was on to something.  As any woman who is nearing, in, or past menopause knows, it IS a terrible thing to lose one's mind or not to have a mind at all.  This tragedy plays out in bizarre ways when the woman is trying to live a creative life.  
Creativity has come to require massive quantities of stuff -- "collectables" (formerly other people's stuff), found objects (ditto), decorative papers, a dizzying array of adhesives (how many ways are there to stick one thing to another?  you wouldn't believe.), stamps, inks, pencils, stencils, awls, needles, fabrics (both vintage - other people's - and new), beads (ditto), wires, pliers, scissors, charms, felt, books, yarn, embossers, glitter, sequins, buttons, ephemera (other people's old postcards and photos,) hole punches in a dizzying array of sizes and shapes, and did I mention adhesives?  I wouldn't want to leave out the decorative Japanese rice paper tape, a product currently very popular, carried, surprisingly, in Anthropologie as well as in high-end arts and craft stores, the uses of which are chronicled in a book devoted entirely to that product.  Which, I am embarrassed to admit, I own (otherwise how would I know what to DO with the decorative Japanese rice paper tape?).  
And if the creative woman ventures into Archiver's or Paper Source or Art Mart, she will find, and buy, tools that she had no idea anyone would ever need, but which she now must own.  A hole punch that is spring-loaded and can punch a hole in the middle of a page -- no longer constrained by the space between the hole punch part and the hinge of the apparatus; a pen-shaped tool that has a tiny spot of sticky material on the end that picks up a minute piece of paper and a release mechanism that drops it just where you want it. Seriously. Once you know it exists, how can you do without it?  And even if you can do without the item, you are held hostage by the gorgeous packaging, and by the grouping of this item with other beautifully packaged items that attach to it for even more obscure purposes.
So here is how this all relates to memory.  Six months after buying the stick-and-release tool, I run across it in my drawer (or even worse, in the original bag in which I brought it home from the store) and think... what did I intend to do with this?  More likely still, what IS this?  And wow, I paid $13.99 for it?
Thus I have made this 2011 New Year's Resolution:  Do not go to bed until you have written detailed annotation regarding whatever art item you bought that day.  What is it?  What project do you expect to make with it?  This note must be securely attached to each item bought, or can be attached to bundled items bought for a specific project.  This at least gives you a prayer of remembering that brilliant insight you had about the decorative hole punches in the vintage fabric that will be made into a pillow trimmed in thimbles.  

It's me again.

By the way, the fabulous PaperSource is opening a new store in Naperville. Would it be just mean to invite Joyce to the grand opening?

1 comment:

Johanna said...

Art items? I'm still trying to find the groceries I'm sure I bought. Then there's the news item on TV about the "elderly woman" with Alzheimer's Disease who is missing from home and, when they announce her age, she's younger than I am. So many things to be depressed about. Good thing I can't remember most of them! Great writing Joyce.