Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Learning to let go of things from your past

Over at his Tearoom of Despair blog, Temuka Bob writes about how his collection has become an albatross that stops him doing excited things [like emigrating to the Caribbean!]. In Bob's case, that collection is comics. For other blokes, it might be vinyl or football memorabilia or classic car parts or something else. [Men and the collecting tendency, what's that all about?]

My name is David Bishop and I used to be collector. 'Because I might read it one day. Because I might need it one day.' Those two sentences - never spoken out loud, only in my head - saw me dragging an ever growing collection of longboxes around Britain for years. Why? Because I might enjoy them again one day, or need them for research. It was reassuring to have them at hand, even if they went untouched for years.

But when I finished hrill-Power Overload, my magnificent octopus detailing the secret history of iconic British science fiction comic 2000AD, I purged myself of almost every comic I own. A complete set of Dredd Megazines. A strong run of 2000ADs. Thousands of US comics. All sold or - if nobody would buy them - junked. If I buy or receive any new comics, I enjoy them once - and throw them away.

I do still buy the occasional graphic novel, but that's mostly nostalgia taking command of my wallet. As for monthly comics, I'm down to a single, half-empty longbox which only contains issues retained for sentimental reasons. The first comic I ever shoplifted, an issue of Luke Cage Power Man. My first issue of Cerebus, the heartbreakingly poignant #75. The daffy madness of Prez.

Selling or dumping your collection is a wonderfully liberating freedom. You get space back. Your life is no longer dominated by towering stacks of longboxes. You're not living in the past anymore. If you're not already in a relationship [with some long-suffering partner], no collection means you don't have to be embarrassed when you bring someone new home. Sad fact: you can't take it with you.

So here's my suggestion of the day: consider having a purge. Chuck out all the crap in your life that's holding you back. Throw out the past and embrace the future. Free yourself of your collection. Free your mind - and your ass will follow. Onwards!


Lucy V said...

This is an affliction that happens only to:

a) Men - you guys are supposed to be the logical ones, yet they insist on squirrelling everything away for a rainy day.

b) teenagers - the "in-betweeners", not children, yet not adults, they have *stuff* to make 'em feel better

c) women without children - women might have shedloads of clothes or shoes, but that all changes when kids come along. Why? TOYS. Toys are from satan and take over every inch of the house. You start sending every toy not played with to the charity shop. Before long, you start sending your own stuff.

Pete Kempshall said...

I have kids now. I am saving it all for them. It's my legacy. *Cough*.

Paul Campbell said...

Have less, and it will make you free!

Couldn't agree more, though it's not so easy in practice.

My weakness was books. But not any longer. They've all gone. Well, most of them. If I can't genuinely imagine myself reading them again, then they go. It's liberating.

When my wife's grandfather died recently, he left behind a huge collection of books. No-one wanted them. Why would they? They were beautifully catalogued, but he couldn't possibly have read many of them more than once.

I was offered my pick. I had a few moments of frenzied delight. And then I said no.

PS. What's a long box?

John Soanes said...

Your first issue of Cerebus was #75? What a terrific place to start.
As you say, heartbreaking.

Jason Arnopp said...

Stop speaking the painful truth, you fucker!

Bob Temuka said...

The weird thing is, when people like David talk about a massive purge like this, I feel more jealous than anything else. I really wish i could do it, but I love the stuff too much.

Sometimes, when the wife isn't looking, I like to throw a whole lot of new comics on the floor and roll around on top of them. It makes me feel so dirty.

Paul Scoones said...

I really couldn't bear to put with a lot of my collection (and yes I have re-read some of it). That said, Rochelle and I have just recently been culling out stacks of books, DVDs and CDs to sell that have been taking up much-needed shelf space.

I hope you've held on to that copy of Captain Sunshine I tracked down especially for you! :)

W. R. Logan said...

I had a purge a few years ago after stopping my monthly comics order. Out went nearly all the wolverines, x-men, spider-man etc but I couldn't throw out my 2000's or Dredd stuff or anything written by Wagner & Grant.
I did feel better after the purge but a cold chill went down my spine for even contemplating getting rid of my 2000's.
Maybe one day 8-?

Simon Fraser said...

I tend to only hold on to stuff I've actually worked on . Comics go in the bin or get given away.

CDs get ripped onto hard drives, as increasingly do my DVDs. I'm still keeping the Disks , but not the packaging.

Books on the other hand, those I lug around the world with me, pay for increasingly expensive shelving and stare at periodically with dread as the sheer weight of them threatens to crush me.

MerseyMal said...

I should do this with my 2000 AD, Judge Dredd Megazine & Complete/Classic Judge Dredd collection and books.

I just can't bear to do it.

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