When we lived in Cape Elizabeth, we learned there was no trash pickup. Instead, we went to a “transfer site.” This meant that we put all of our bags of trash and recycling into the back of our car to take it to another location about 15 miles away from where we lived.
I thought it was going to be a terrible nuisance, but it’s rather brilliant because two things became immediately clear: how much trash we put into the stream on a weekly basis, and the crazy amount of excess packaging on everything we all use.
I think about this as I’m about to head to the ‘convenience site’ here in Bozeman this week…
In our reclaimed lumber pile, we have several pieces that have too much old hardware for us to safely work with, and I have over two decades of periodicals I’m finally ready to recycle.
American Theatre Magazine helped me calibrate my true north back in my 20s and 30s. They contained interviews with innovative and ground breaking artists that shaped the landscape of theatre and professional actor training programs across the country. They connected me to a larger conversation.
Other than my personal experience with them, there is nothing special about these particular editions. I was one of thousands across the country that subscribed in the 90s, and 2000s
No one needs them anymore. Everything is archived online.
I’ve held on to these because I don’t like to read everything online. I write in most of my books, underlining key passages so I can quickly find them again when necessary. These hard copies helped me remember the experiences of complex and extraordinary artists that paved the way for generations that followed.
But… I haven’t looked at them in years. The one quote I pulled for a blog last year I was able to bring up online because I remembered enough of the conversation…
If I’m being honest… I’ve held onto these because I have not been ready to let go of that part of my past… my identity as a tenured professor and professional teaching artist.
The day I left my office, I set all those magazines aside in a plastic container, like a bookmark, proof of an existence, readily available in case this new adventure as a small business owner didn’t work out…
I have many theatre and dance and voice and movement and Shakespeare references on my bookshelves. But unlike the magazines, these are not placeholders. I regularly turn to these when I have questions, wish for inspiration, or need to flesh out an idea.
These are active in my life… now.
Recycling the magazines is not about downsizing for me, it’s about having an active relationship with everything in my space. And in order to do this, I need to be authentic about who I am. Today.
As I go through each magazine one final time, what passes through my mind is all the living chronicled… and here I am, just throwing it away.
(I have a similar feeling when I’m in bookstores or roaming through movies to stream… so many lives went into each of these creations… all those artists pouring themselves into projects, and I just move past most of them…)
It got me thinking about the reality of my imprint.
If what I do in this lifetime has the inevitable ending of a transfer or convenience site, then it’s worth considering the motivation (and responsibility) behind each creation.
This quieted me in more ways than I can say…
It shines a light on anything and everything that is unnecessary or creates more garbage for a community to deal with...
always in motion,