Don’t freak out. I’m not buying anything. Allow me to explain…
My friend Cally, who I mentioned in my last post, presented me with a challenge. He told me that in the UK, various plants and flowers are studied by collectors and growers, and if they achieve a certain breadth of the species, they are given status of having the NATIONAL COLLECTION OF… (whatever the plant is). And with this title, they get to be the first expert to be consulted on the species. Cally encouraged me to start a collection of my own, finding the most obscure free thing to collect with the idea that at the end of the year I will have the NATIONAL COLLECTION of this item. And then he suggested that I present the collection to the Library of Congress at the end of the year.
He suggested to start a collection of items such as bottle tops, receipts, even the mis spellings of my name.
He then explained to me the kind of collections he has…stamps, the insides of envelopes, colorful fruit stickers…all a reminder of the gifts of beauty we are given on a free basis everyday.
I am accepting his challenge BUT after thinking about it, the whole purpose of this year for me is to not to acquire any new junk (not that his collections are junk, they obviously mean something to him). I thought back to some of the things I collected as a young person- baseball cards, teddy bears, greeting cards…and how little they ended up meaning to me in the long run.
I’d like this collection to mean something. And I’d like to get use out of it. I don’t want this collection to sit in a drawer or on a shelf.
I’ve decided to collect something that doesn’t take up any space. I’ve decided to start collecting THE THINGS PEOPLE SAY. These statements can be things people say to me, things people write, song lyrics, things I hear on the radio, but more interestingly, the things people say to each other when they don’t think I’m listening. And to make use of them, I want to try to reuse these things that people say in my writing. For those who don’t know me, I write plays, short stories, poems, screenplays….and I’d like to try to incoorporate the things I hear people say in my work.
How’s that for a collection?