A sort of tashlikh

I save things. I'd like to write that actually I collect things, but I don't really have collections - I simply don't throw things away. They accumulate and become excess baggage. Boxes of items, whether papers or actual objects, clog up my desk, my shelves, my closets. Often I no longer remember why I saved something, but assume that if I saved it, it was for a reason, so I can't throw it out now.

The physical congestion is a problem, but it's nothing compared to the mental congestion. Throwing out an object can be a way of clearing out a bit of thinking space, making room for new ideas. Perhaps one of the shortcomings of the digital era is that the prevailing metaphor for memory is the hard disk, and since disk capacity is now so cheap, there's no reason to throw anything out. Just add another disk. So perhaps I've added memory, but I don't have a workable program for accessing what I need. Everything simply continues to accumulate.

But digitizing can be a means of cleaning up. When I catalog and scan the countless objects that clutter my space, I find it easier to throw the physical object out. If I can give each object its day in the sun, its fifteen minutes of fame, I can also say that its time has passed. Perhaps the object is no longer there, but the image, and the memory lingers. And that will have to be sufficient.

This project is being initiated close to Rosh HaShannah, 5737. In a way it's an emptying of my pockets, pouring out the contents into the digital stream. I envision a monthly addition to the catalog. I have much more than that waiting to be thrown out, but the parting process isn't only one of scanning and labeling - every picture tells a story, and if the story isn't told, I haven't really said goodbye. And that being the case, I doubt that I can keep pace with more than one item a month.

  For starters:

September, 2002: odds and ends from the shelf above the computer.

to: Jay returns to Cyberspace (Hebrew)