Sunday, March 6, 2011

Collecting or Hoarding?

Currently I am reading Prof. Gail Steketee, Ph.D., and Prof. Randy Frost, Ph.D.'s facinating book, Stuff: Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, which has made me ponder whether I'm a collector or a hoarder. I do have a lot of stuff. But my mother taught me that if you had three of anything you had the beginning of a collection. She loved to shop and I find that I have inherited that gene.

Part of the idea for this blog came from a discussion with a friend who had read the book and commented, as I would later comment, "I can see a lot me here." The authors discuss that idea that for many hoarders the objects they keep all have emotional attachments and many hoarders see their "things" as an extension of themselves.

I would phrase it a little differently for me. My things all have stories--one of the focuses I use in teaching my high school English class. Often I have friends who laugh about coming to my "museum," not so much because it has the pristine look of one, but because like a docent I can explain the history of much of what I have: things as a way of explaining one's life.

Steketee and Frost describe how Andy Warhol created "time capsules." Once a month, he would take everything off his desk--unimportant things, papers, bills, money, paintings, pictures... whatever was there. He would put them all in a box, label them with the month and seal them up into what he called "time capsules." As an artist, I can understand that conceptual idea of "art"... but I can also see how easily that would lead one into hoarding.

Whether I continue with the blog will be determined by whether people find the stories interesting. If not, perhaps I can box them up into a digital "time capsule" and move on.

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