|Guest room from Coastal Living. |
Not my attic.
Then there are my papers. When I heard some years ago that Toni Morrison's house had burned with all her old papers, causing her unutterable distress, I thought, Lady, you don't know how lucky you are. Of course, scholars want her papers. They don't want my papers. I'm going through my papers right now, throwing out things. I found a padded brown envelope from Little, Brown with the original manuscript of UNBALANCED ACCOUNTS, together with a little note from Ray Roberts, my first editor, may he rest in peace. It read:
October 31, 1986
Here's the original manuscript of UNBALANCED ACCOUNTS. You must be sure to put this in a vault. It will put the baby through Harvard one day.
I did not put the manuscript in a vault. Eventually I put it in a box under the guest bed with some early drafts of various books I wrote later. Nor did the baby go to Harvard. Now I have dug out the box and thrown the drafts away. I'm keeping Ray's note, and the manuscript from Little Brown. But not in the attic.
A list of things to address is posted on my old sewing project bulletin board up there. The papers came first. Next comes the sewing. I once used the attic for a sewing room, collecting attractive dress patterns and beautiful lengths of fabric until I had more than I could do anything with in several lifetimes. Eventually one faces this. I have an absolute maximum of ten more projects left in me. So now I have to select ten patterns and ten hunks of yard goods and let all the rest go, probably to the church flea market, along with most of my knitting yarn.
|Thymes Frasier Fir:|
a Really Good Air Freshener
You might say, all this is too much trouble for a few overnight guests, Martha Stewart to the contrary notwithstanding. Perfectly true. The guests create a more or less artificial deadline for a task that has to be done. You see, I have to clear all of this crap out of the attic so that my heirs don't have to. No, it's okay, I'm not sick or anything, but who wants to wait 'til they're sick to clean the attic? This way I get to linger over all the old bits of my life, find a place for them or throw them out, get comfortable with the past.
When I'm finished with this work I'll scatter sea salt on the floor and say some prayers to take care of the ghosts. One of my friends told me there were actual ghosts up there.