Yes, I am still going through stuff, stuff and more stuff as I clean out the house.
There certainly is a lot of scrap paper, everything from canceled checks from when my late wife Abby and her first husband ran Stuckey’s Restaurants in the 1970s, to spiral notebooks intended for a class or a project that ended up with just one sheet written in them.
The number one paper product that needs to be disposed is old books, mostly pulp fiction in paperback form. I am finding most of them stored in cardboard boxes in the garage or the shed. The titles look tempting, but the dust mites and spider eggs do not, so almost all of that goes to the Ada Recycling Coalition/City of Ada Recycling Center on 12th Street.
Handling all this paper, some of pristine, summons in me a feeling of potential, of something great waiting to be created by writing or drawing. Part of that feeling is summoning me to do that writing.
I used to get that exact same feeling when my job was a film and print affair, and my monthly supply order would arrive. I would unpack boxes with 1000 sheets of Kodak Ektamatic print paper, 1200 feet of Kodak Tri-X Pan Film, gallons of developer, activator, stabilizer, and fixer. In my hand these raw materials would becoming something meaningful, something we could all share in my newspaper.
Also as the clean-out continues, I am finding stuff I had no idea was even present in my home, like a cell phone from around 1999, and right next to it, a Blockbuster Rewards card. Those brought about some memories of life just a generation ago, when phones were just phones, and seeing a movie at home meant going to a video store like Blockbuster or Hastings and shopping for the evening’s entertainment.
All this activity is meaningful to me. It emphasizes the need to understand that Earth only has so many trees and so much iron and so much copper, and that we are using our resources too fast, through an industry centered around the idea that excess equals success.
So when I pull out a notepad or a storage box or a container of screws in the middle of the big clean-out, and I pause to ask myself, remind myself, to recycle it all, in one way or the other.