giving objects a voice

Three years ago I posted the first installment of this project - a group of admittedly useless (or, to give them the benefit of the doubt, no longer useful) objects which continued to clutter my desk because I couldn't bring myself to throw them out. I knew that those twelve items were only the tip of the iceberg, but I didn't know where all this would lead.

Three years later, I'm well aware that there's no immediate, nor even long-term, danger of my running out of objects that can be given their place in the sun (or on the web) for the proverbial five minutes. And yet, after those three years, I'm not sure that I still have something distinct to tell about each of them. I've tried not only to present objects, but to reflect on each object as possessing a distinctive way of causing us to reflect. I have little doubt that in the right hands any object is capable of facilitating a distinctive means of understanding, but I think I've reached the end of the extent to which I can do this. I might continue to present many different objects, but the ways in which I would relate to them would be repetitive.

As much as this has been a project that has attempted to allow ordinary, expendable, objects to claim their place in our consciousness, it his also been a project that has chronicled the development of my own abilities to observe. It was, for instance, during these three years that I realized that in order to read a printed page, I had to remove my glasses - glasses that previously had been an inseparable part of me for all my waking hours since quite a young age. During this project I wore out two chains for holding my glasses, even though before it I'd never thought I'd need such a chain at all. Thus, metaphor and reality overlap - in order to examine the objects documented here, in order to discover their distinctive voices, I've had to remove my glasses, to observe in a new manner.

In August, 2004, I reported on an Indian-style bedspread that many years ago a friend had left by me for safe-keeping. I was very sure we'd never thrown it out, but had no idea where it was. A few weeks before this was written, I "found" that bedspread. It's not precisely accurate, however, to write that I found it, since when I remarked to Tzippi that I'd been (sort of) looking for it, she told me that she'd known where it was all along. She's even been using parts of it (apparently with my permission) in her teaching.

I'm still in contact, albeit limited, with my friend of many years ago who left this bedspread by me, though all I can remember of his girlfriend of that time, to whom the bedspread belonged, and for whom I was ostensibly saving it, was that she was a redhead. I have my doubts whether he, probably many girlfriends, and now a wife and daughter, later, remembers her much either.

But the object itself, perhaps primarily the memory of the object, coupled with the knowledge that it was still tucked away somewhere in our home, left its mark on my consciousness. Objects have a way of doing that - if we let them. The simple act of reflecting upon these objects (perhaps the more forgettable the better), of allowing them to stake a claim against the oblivion of the awaiting trashcan, can enrich us.

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