This is an ongoing project that I write about from time to time.
It started when I read ‘A Hundred Pieces of Me’ by Lucy Dillon. When Gina and her husband split up she moved to a lovely new flat, and she vowed to clear out all of the ‘things’ that she had acquired over the years and live a simpler life.
I thought that I should do that. Because I’m living with my own things and a lot of my mother’s things, that she has left behind but I can’t quite let go. I have to find a way of separating what was my parents’ history that I have to let go and what was my own family history that I have to hold.
And when a friend gave Gina the idea of photographing her memories, well that have me the idea of photographing and writing a little about the things I have to let go. So I can hold on to the memories and let go of the clutter.
Author Jane Johnson brought the idea to the front of my mind when I heard her speak at the Penzance Literary Festival last month. She suggested that there were two kinds of people: the kind who want to seek out the exotic and the kind who want to gather the familiar around them. she’s the former and I’m the latter. but a thought came into my head. Those of us who gather the familiar also need the space to gaze at the stars and dream.
Hence the title.
I’ve let things drift for a while, but as it’s a few weeks before Christmas the time seems right for passing a few nice ornaments to local charity shops.
It isn’t that I don’t like them, it’s that I want the things I keep to have a practical use or to hold memories I want to keep …..
The first thing I must say is that I love cats, I grew up with cats, and that I really want to have a cat again one day. But there are two good reasons why I can’t have a cat right now.
The first reason is because we live on a busy seafront and I wouldn’t feel safe letting a cat out.
The second reason answers to the name of Briar. When she was a curious puppy she used to go up to cats and introduce herself, and it was all quite amicable until one day a cat reached out and scratched her on the nose. I think it was then that she decided that cats were mortal enemies to be barked at and chased whenever an opportunity presented itself.
The sad side-effect of that it that the local cats, who tend to congregate in our back lane, scatter whenever I go out, even when she isn’t with me. I wish I could explain that she’s always on her lead when we go out and that all they have to do is stay put, because if they don’t run she is completely bewildered.
I remember a lovely black and white cat called Felix who used to live a few minutes walk away. He used to sun-bathe and he didn’t react at all when Briar went by, however much fuss she made.
I’m getting away from the point: the point is that I like cats and that I’ve accumulated a few cat ornaments.
I don’t have a strong attachment to any of them.
We used to trade pottery animals from a local shop (Tremain Pottery) to each other when I was at secondary school. I’m not sure what the history of this pair was, and though I’ve had them for a long time, I remember them in rooms in halls of residence and rented flats, I don’t find it difficult to let them go.
The china cats were gifts from an elderly aunt, twenty years or so ago. I do like them, but I hope there’s somebody else out who’ll like them even more.
So the cats can go, and the memories can stay ….