I’ve spent this afternoon Getting Rid Of Stuff. Some of this was of the prosaic “empty the trashes” nature, but the bulk of it was involved in going through boxes that have been sitting around with the intent to be gone through. The big thing to tackle was a large box of received correspondence from roughly 1990-1998. A few months ago in another one of these Getting Rid Of Stuff binges I almost threw it out wholesale, but held off, and days later realized with a shock that I was really glad I hadn’t tossed it, because the 4 page handwritten letter that AC Crispin wrote to me when I was 15 and had asked for writing advice from her was in it.
So today I opened the box with the intention to find that letter and throw everything else away.
I threw a *lot* of it away. Probably 75% of it, some of which were letters from (now) complete strangers. A few of them I remembered after a while, but others? I genuinely had no idea who they were. So those weren’t so hard to part with. Neither, as it turned out, were most of the letters I had from people I *do* remember and am mostly still in contact with.
I found the AC Crispin letter. I *also* found the letter from Anne McCaffrey, inviting me (and the friend I was travelling with) to Dragonhold, after I’d written to her before my first trip to Ireland and said I had to ask, at least, if I might be able to meet her. I didn’t think I still had that, so that was a lovely thing to discover.
I also found a number of letters from my grandmother, who died several years ago, and an old (really old, like, 6th grade!) journal, and a Beauty and the Beast short story I wrote around 1991-92 and which I’m considering posting, unedited, to my Patreon page, now that I’ve switched it over to being a short story project. :) And a bunch of other somewhat random memento-style stuff, much of which can probably be thrown away but which has for the moment gone back into the box because I’d done enough for the day.
The thing that really got me, though, in going through the box, was that I found what I had been sure would be the last pictures I’d ever see/take of a friend of mine who was very, very ill with Crohn’s, at a Christmas party in 1997. She was 5’8″ and about 92 pounds, and we all thought it would be her last Christmas.
It was not. She had surgery not very long after that, and she is alive and well and strong, and tomorrow is in fact what she calls her Phoenix Day, the 17th anniversary of her surgery, but my God, seeing those pictures. #feels
So I’m very very glad I didn’t just throw the box out.