Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A sheaf of the past

*sparklingly (
{ Newest kitchen scrubbie using bits of leftover yarn  |  January 2013 }
Last Saturday I lit a few thick, white pillar candles in the apartment, powered up a Brothers & Sisters marathon on Netflix and settled myself on the couch with two huge leather containers of handwritten mail from the last 10 years. I've long wanted to tackle a whittling down, but having a little plan was exactly the push I needed to actually do it.

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It's little surreal to have such a tangible piece of your past—someone's words to you for your birthday, graduation, holidays, or just a thinking-of-you note all there in curlicues and elegantly-looped addresses and doodles in the margin and pretty stationery and smooth ink and abbreviations from a secret language I forgot I spoke.

Some envelopes stayed closed.  Memories locked within the folds of letters from family. Words I wasn't ready to read again or photos that made me think of too many things. Stepping back into who I was and the circles that contained me was as painful as it was beautiful because I realized some aren't as strong any more, but they're still there.

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Thomas Jefferson kept copies of the correspondence he wrote, which gave me the idea to photocopy the envelopes and contents of all the letters and cards I used to send. I don't do it anymore (I also don't send very many handwritten notes), but seeing my own words ricochet back to me from across the years made me realize I shouldn't have ever stopped doing it either.

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After a few hours I finally finished paring down my collection and tied one last bow around one last bundle for safekeeping. The discarded letters and cards were hauled in a metal basked to the recycling chute. Then I padded into the kitchen to blend another batch of my winter oil concoction. A perfectly homey and comforting end to a day spent looking over my shoulder.


  1. I love your writing - you captured the emotions so well. I also have a couple of boxes of notes and other things that were important to me over the years. I haven't looked through them in a long time, but I'm thinking I should. It's such a rush of feelings to look through that stuff.

    1. So kind of you to say, thank you!

      And, I definitely think you should take a little wade into the past——like you said, so emotional, but also enjoyable and cathartic, too! (It also spurred me to message an old friend to figure out what this acronym we kept using meant, which led to a nice little text catch-up). :)

      I came across a set of postcards I received from a Blogger Miniature Artsy Postcard swap from back in 2006, too/ So fun to see——and made me think that maybe I should initiate another. Maybe a blogger goodie bag/care package exchange?


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