Monday, September 5, 2011

What's the opposite of a hoarder?

One way to prove that you're a serious artist is to have a lot of art books. That means you know all about these Way Important People in the Art World who are the subjects of the many books stacked on your shelves. This point was brought home to me when I was flipping through a fall fashion magazine recently and found the following Macy's ad. Now THIS is what a smart art person's wall looks like, right?

Well, I'm going to have to buck the trend. I have always been one of those "less is more" people when it comes to Stuff. Hoarding is supposedly a mental illness; whatever its cause, I am the exact opposite. Whenever I sense that I have too many things, I feel stuck mentally, like my brain is clouded and I can't think or plan any more. But as soon as I take a pile of clothes to Goodwill or a few books to the library's donation room, I feel much freer and able to see how to move forward in my life in general.

So, as opposed to the ad in the picture, I have managed to winnow my books down to the two bookcases pictured below. And frankly, most of these books I don't even look at; either they are books I had when I was a child or they were given to me by someone I love, so I keep them for sentimental reasons. There are a few things I read on a regular basis: biographies or autobiographies of Jack Kerouac, Phil Ochs, Suzanne Farrell and Allegra Kent. I also re-read "Sister Carrie" by Theodore Dreiser and "Maggie, Girl of the Streets" by Stephen Crane. But that's about it. My theory is, I can always look something up on line, or check a book out of the library.

I have to admit, though, my favorite blog is called Yard Sale Bloodbath. I guess I get a vicarious thrill ...


LynetteH said...

Amusing post, Catherine! This is something I do think about; because purging has been a priority for me the past couple of years. I do keep most of my art books, and as you mentioned those from loved ones. But I think a trip to the library may be in order soon!

Catherine Carter said...

Yes, Lynette, I honestly feel that all that clear space gives your brain room to work, which is in direct contradiction to the "more books = smarter book owner" image. God bless the library!