Hoarders Anonymous. It talks about how the habit of hoarding has become a negative concept but that to geneaologists, the hoarded clutter of a relative or family can provide a treasure trove of research clues and information.
The collected clutter left to me by my parents sits under the stairs until I can free up a cupboard for it all. I've already filled one cupboard with photographs (note to self: must buy photograph albums and put these all in order) but I need more cupboard space for old family bibles, my parents' love letters and documentation that stretches back a number of generations. To this end, I started going through the cupboards in our study.
What I found was an interesting mix of craft materials (mainly for the children), the aforementioned photographs, an over abundance of candles (bring on the power cuts - no, don't, please - I need my computer), a graveyard of old gadgets that my husband hasn't got round to rehousing, a massive amount of stationery (did I mention that I'm a bit of a stationery whore?), and file after file of my writing dating back to my teens. It provides for some interesting reading, charting the growth and maturing of not only Fiona but also my writing skill. I doubt that I have thrown anything away since I first put creative brain cell to paper. There is the writing exercise inspired short stories from a creative writing course run by Pat Borthwick whom I've mentioned before on this blog. There's a bound copy of a novel written when I was twenty years old which forms the basis for the fantasy novel I'm currently working on, and a ring binder file which contains a children's novel, written when I was going through a difficult patch in my life. My favourite find amongst it all is a list of story and character ideas.
I have hoarded all of this over the years as a pool of creativity and inspiration to be dipped back into when my muse has evaded me. I have encouraged the gathering of dust and laughed in the face of minimalism. Like my parents before me, I am a hoarder and shall continue to hoard with pride.