I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This is the new attic

More about my attic? 
Really Carolynn, focus on something else, you're obsessed.
I originally wrote this piece as a column, sent it to my editor and then, after thinking about it for a few milliseconds I emailed her to pull it because it's so similar to a piece I wrote, which ran about six months ago. Golly gee Aunt Bee, I knew it sounded familiar. Anyway I'm posting it here for two reasons, because I like it and because I like it. I promise I won't write about my attic again. 

Spring cleaning is a lot like getting a flu shot; it only hurts a little, I feel better when it’s over and it’s something I only have to do once a year. This year I decided to start at the top.

A few weeks ago my youngest daughter and I ventured into the archeological dig we call the attic, she wanted to coordinate a yard sale, I wanted to finally clean and organize hoarder’s paradise; it’s like a gigantic black garbage-bag-cloud above our heads.  The sheer volume of stuff and disorganization has weighed heavily on my mind since it became a four-family storage locker for all things deemed currently not needed but a prospect for future use, or we’re just too lazy to haul it to the dump.

The untouched pile in the farthest corner, covered in a decade’s layer of dust, was placed there when we moved in. Next to that is a neat stack of my mother-in-laws leftovers of life, may she rest in organized peace. Forward of those carefully stacked and labeled boxes, the chaos of the attic descends into a maelstrom of piles categorized by college year, and the eventual first and second apartment unnecessaries of my children.

Open the door at the top of the stairs and you’re initially prevented entrance by a queen-size mattress and box-spring, one of three sets standing on end like random fence sections barring passage from one path to another. That set was the last of the big stuff to go up there during one of those, push hard and slam the door moments.

For a year or so, when someone said they wanted to put something in the attic, I’d joke that you can’t even fit another piece of paper up there but they always found room.

Because it gets candle-melting hot and snow-globe freezing cold during the extreme seasons, the windows of opportunity to cull through are few, only half a year.

‘Yard Sale’, so much effort for so little monetary return, was not something I wanted to do. Donating and dumping is more my speed. But I figured if the kids wanted to make a few bucks, (key word ‘few’), who am I to talk them down from the edge of monumental effort for pennies.

We dove in.

My husband took about half a dozen pick-up loads to the transfer station, aka dump, and the attic is almost completely clean and totally organized. Problem now is that the girls’ former bedrooms, and my office, are filled with boxes and bags ticketed for a yard sale we can’t seem to set a date for. On a white board hanging on a bedroom door I wrote, “This is the new attic”.

When I started going through everything I was amazed by the emotions which rose to the surface from what I had saved. While working side by side with my daughter, the gratification of the cleaning did not even come close to the pleasure of reminiscing. I am selling things I have never used, (some purchased at yard sales years ago), and I am letting go of things which once seemed so important and are now as unessential as eight-tracts and as passé as pet rocks.

From a non-descript box of miscellaneous stuff, I was sorting and pitching and came upon an unframed black and white wallet sized photo. It is the only existing picture of my parent’s wedding in 1944, capturing their first kiss as husband and wife. When I think of how long that one photo has remained hidden, how impossible its discovery was, and how close I came to throwing it away, I realized the value of the yard sale we will eventually have is priceless. Enough said.

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