So it’s gone – a paper mountain. The innards of a thousand files filled with reference and notes on stories written, done and dusted – over decades. The steel grey filing cabinets previously crammed to capacity breathed a sigh at their passing. Space! In a battery of black bags off to the recycling depot went the contents to be shredded into oblivion. Phew!
It wasn’t gritty determination and resolve for a fresh transition into 2015 – much as I’d like to think – it was having a few spare days and no excuses. I inherited the squirrel gene from my darling Mamma, and when she died it took us weeks, months even to sort through just the piles of ‘paperwork’ under every bed, in each cupboard and drawer. Carefully packaged, tied with string and labelled – and sometimes randomly stashed in shoe or hat boxes and the hallowed ‘deed’ box – they revealed a life well lived, loved and recorded. Letters and ledgers, drawings and ditties, reports, research……but it had to go. There isn’t place on this planet for all of life’s paperwork. And when my time is up…..I’d like to spare my boys the paperwork piles.
Having said that – there’s still plenty left behind! Now that I look at it, there’s scarcely a dent been made. Sorry guys. Two shelves of spiral notebooks, folders on every course ever taken, tearsheets from twenty years of magazine work – and five boxes of trannies. I was stressing about what to do with these last on facebook when a f/b friend asked what a ‘trannie’ was. You feel the might of the digital tsunami when you have to explain such sell-by dated terminology. In fact, what’s a tearsheet! And come to think of it – what’s to be done with the CD’s and cassettes of radio work. Please don’t anyone ask me what a cassette is. But it doesn’t matter – what matters is what remains in your head and your heart – and if it’s forgotten maybe it didn’t matter that much.
Symbolically and finally, I disassembled the deeply layered pinboard. Dust motes thick on curling photos, drawing pins rusted, sun decayed plastic, handwriting, photocopies and important passwords faded into ghostly images and hieroglyphs. Back in place the pinboard shrieks with emptiness, echoing the song of the filing cabinets. So here I sit now with a clear slate – well, clearer – and a laptop full of notes. Next stop, Dropbox.
And in another twenty years, someone will say, ‘What’s Dropbox?’. I may not be able to answer.