Making a Difference

I used to love reading, but then I started drinking too much and was always too fucked up or tired to do it. Then I quit drinking but didn’t start reading again. So my room was full of unread books. I just kept buying them, hoping that I would get around to them eventually. They cluttered the spaces in the squat shelves I had grabbed off the street. The Crying of Lot 49. Crime and Punishment. The Corrections. They were all over my dresser and side table. The Lover. Jesus’ Son. They littered my floor. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Beloved. I had to step around piles of books I didn’t read so that I didn’t trip and fall. Sometimes I did trip and fall. Austerlitz. Possession.

It wasn’t just books, either. There was an old gray-and-baby-blue typewriter I never used, a broken record player I’d bought at a garage sale along with records I never listened to, piles and piles of clothes I never wore. The clothes had fit once, but my weight had fluctuated so much in the past year that they became too tight, then too loose. Then they got too stained. My desk was cluttered with objects, including a pink pad of Post-its I kept for any big ideas that might come around. But big ideas never came around.

I wasn’t a hoarder per se, but I did have trouble letting go of objects because it was like letting go of a dream you once had of yourself.

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