December 18, 2015

Making Space for Stories


For as long as I've wanted to be anything, I've wanted to be a writer. Wanted to be a storyteller, in a more general sense, because acting, to me, is simply an extension of that same impulse.

Being a collector of stories, however, comes with its own burdens. As anyone with similar sentiment knows, we have a tendency of collecting reminder objects. These items inspire in us certain memories, memories we cling to in hopes that someday we may pen them -- out of reflection, onto the page.

Of course, as "someday" gets pushed further and further down the pike, these collections swell into piles of clutter. They attract cobwebs and mold. They plight us with an unseen weight, following us around even when we think we've unloaded them (read: hid said weight-creator at our parent's house....) Eventually, they morph from noble memory-vessels into a lumpy burden on our hearts and minds. The stress they bring is acutely ironic; it absorbs the very air our creative muscles need to, well, create.

Yesterday I returned from New York for an extended holiday in my snowy hometown. For the first time, I discovered clear surfaces and empty drawers in my bedroom -- real space to fill with the version of me I'd brought home, rather than the dusty evidence of a me that I've since discarded. The few items that remained -- favorite books & journals, meaningful artwork, an assortment of jackets and dresses -- formed something of a personal museum. That's my life, I thought, upon opening my closet doors. That's a timeline of me.

This phenomenon is partially due to traveling and living out of a backpack for three months and substantially thanks to the recently popularized KonMari method. More than likely it's also a basic side-effect of growing up. Whatever the case, waking up in this space made me feel clean, light, and happy. Instead of raiding the refrigerator and lazing about in my pjs, sorting through old birthday cards and mixed CDs, paining myself over which to keep and which to toss, I showered, got dressed (LIKE AN ADULT), and sat down with my laptop to write. In relinquishing myself of the burden of memory, I freed myself to tackle the very thing I hoped to do all along. I didn't need my photos or books or letters to make it happen. The memories were all still there in my head and heart. And, barring amnesia, they're going to stick around for a while yet.

I've come here, to a favorite coffee shop, watching one of my dearest, oldest friends sling lattes like the badass she is (and always has been.) Because she isn't just a memory, or a letter, or a photograph -- she's real, and she's here.

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