Thursday, June 23, 2011

Touchy feely

I went to my book club tonight for the first time in months. It's my kind of club. You don't really have to read the book and even if we all have, we usually don't talk about it for longer than 15mins. That said, its the place where I have some of the most fascinating conversations.

This week Brendon and I started packing up. We've got a small set of boxes that contain the contents of our new home stacked on one side of our apartment. On the other side, we have a much, MUCH bigger pile of boxes that we'll be selling or giving away. But there is much more to sort through and it hasn't all been easy sailing. Last night we got stuck on two very significant assets - our bookshelf and CD collection. There is a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in music and books. Brendon had CDs from when he was in high school and I wear much of my book shelf as a badge of honor. There is Nelson Mandela's autobiography - Long Road to Freedom, the English Patient by Michael Ondaatje and a recent favourite - The Book of Negros. Music and books - they are like visual representations of who we are and what we value. It doesn't matter that Brendon may never listen to CCR or Led Zeppelin again, not to mention the 600 other CDs in his collection.  It is the time in his life that it represents that feels impossible to let go. I feel similar about the books I own. I will probably never read them again but they are like keys to the past, helping me remember what I was like when I curled up with them.

But we have no room.

So we are now having to grapple with these new ways of storing information and challenging ourselves to consider them. In my book club, one of my friends owns a Kindle. She's stopped buying the paper versions and loves the fact that she can carry around hundreds of books in her purse adding only the weight of a small notebook. And when it comes to music, everything that we ever play these days is on the computer. I personally haven't looked at a CD jacket in years. Yet in our book club today we couldn't help mourn the loss of all that is tactile and gauge how and why we felt compelled to keep the material versions of these prized possessions. I don't have an answer for what we should do next though. Do you?

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