(set-up: This excerpt is from a “personal memoir” titled The Year of Throwing Away)
Who would have thought that throwing away things would bring me the change I was looking for. Who would have thought that giving away some mismatched chairs and an Oskar chopping appliance and throwing away three rusty graters and only keeping one shiny one and three wooden spoons and an egg slicer that was off center and three of the four can openers and four clear glass vases would take away some of the blindness in a sudden and decisive way and show me the lynchpin of my emotional personality and help me put certain traits away forever.
There was a jar of lavender oil that went in the heap and The Welder’s Bible that begins “put on a good pair of goggles,” the Letters of Virginia Woolf (what a strange group those Bloomsbury people). I had to toss in Suzanne Sommers. Altogether four Hefty bags filled with stuff from the closet under the eaves: new crepe-soled shoes, denim shirts, wire hangers. Notebooks with notes on self-improvement. I knew all the ideas by heart. I knew that thoughts are things and whatever you think of most often is what you will manifest. I knew everything backward and forward. EMDR notes from the therapy that includes rapid eye movement. I knew how it worked. I knew what to do.
I kept some small ringed books with grocery lists and notes on childrearing that I had written as a brand new mother. If your child says “mama,” show delight. My grocery lists were banal: lettuce, meat, bread, onions. I kept that history. Finally, I lit a candle in the closet under the eave. It was a candle one of my children had given me to quell the musty odor after too much rain. It was a pleasant scent with no sweetness in it. I sat in the crawl space and lounged against a stack of chenille bedspreads. I put my hands on the manuscripts of books I had published and some glory reviews. I basked in the comfort of knowing there was nothing in there that I had not illuminated.