Monday, May 02, 2011


So.. it's been quite a while since I wrote on my blog. Haven't been really motivated to write much and I didn't want to make this all about feeling the loss... which I of course have been feeling since losing both my parents last year. Not that it isn't good to express it, I guess some things take care of themselves on a verbal level for me.

But in accordance with all this and because this has been a prevailing topic in my family lately... when you are alive and living your life, you surround yourself with all your things. Your trinkets. Your bobbles. Your stuff.  Not sure if anyone else saw this recent article in the Real Estate section of the New York Times online about Norman Mailer's apartment. Long story short, his children have put it up for sale - the apartment and all its contents - in one lump sum. The home has been left just like it was before he died:

I was fascinated, but found it odd. Would you really want to live amongst someone else's stuff in a permanent kind of way? Not that Norman would mind - he's gone, his wife is gone... but this is his stuff, placed the way he liked it in a way that was not only aesthetically pleasing to him, but in an order that he liked living in, in an order that was the essence of Norman himself. I look around my own apartment at my own stuff and see the things that are strewn about it a way that sort of defines me and creates an environment and order that I am comfortable living in. But it's just for me and I suppose those with whom I chose to share my life. I cannot imagine anyone just moving in my place as is with all my stuff in it... how weird is that?

When my mom passed away - we took on the task almost immediately of cleaning out her house. Going through all the drawers and all the closets and dressers and parceling it all out amongst the siblings and relatives and then donating the rest. It was emotional for all the reasons that need no explanation  - but it still felt weird to disrupt the order that my parents lived in - whether I thought it was a little cluttered in spots or that some things were not worth saving - nonetheless, it was their stuff and their space and it was the environment they created for themselves to live in. And it's not even a hoarders issue (man, that TLC show is like a train wreck that I could watch 100 hours of in a row it's so fascinating to me) - it's just about a person's stuff which become a part of that person.

And how about the people in the south whose stuff - all their stuff - was lost to devastating tornadoes or the folks in Japan earthquake/tsunami? In those circumstances you take stock of everything and the importance of your stuff vs your life, and your life will win every time.  But when the storm has passed and you begin again in a new space, inevitably you will collect new things and it's only a matter of time that you are again surrounded by... your stuff.

Stuff is inanimate. Stuff is not as important as life. But I am coming to realize that somehow stuff is essential for most people to live among for as long as they can.


Ashley said...

Well are defined in many ways by our stuff. Our personality comes first; however, we express our personality through our stuff. I would feel EXTREMELY weird moving into someone else's house with their stuff the way they liked it. That's an eerie thought!

The Grunt said...

I don't think this would work for me. It would either feel like it wasn't my home or that I lived in a museum.