Sunday, July 19, 2009


"Picture a big house, roughly 2700 spare feet, built in the oh-so attractive split-level style of the sixties. Imagine the inside of the house as having layers of stuff, geological strata if you will. The top layer, laid down the most recently, consisted of huge amounts of junk and recycling that Dad had obviously been accumulating for years. It wasn’t quite at the point where you find bodies mashed flat and mummified between stacks of trash and paper, but it was close.
Under that were the basics: furniture and curtains; house wares and food; clothing and carpeting. Below that years of accumulated tools, car and airplane parts, and toxic paint cans in the shop. Old books and my mother’s belongings, our old toys and things we’d left behind, Christmas decorations, ancient photo albums, and numerous boxes and full filing cabinets. Then, the aforementioned accumulated years of papers and belongings of my parents; everything of mine and Big Sister’s that had been saved and stored; and whatever had made its way over when each of my grandparents had died.
And there was the paper. Always more paper. The entire house felt like it was made of paper; walled, buttressed, and roofed with paper. Drifted against every wall in a storm of cellulose. Sagging stacks of newspapers, junk mail, useless prospectuses, and magazines supported the sagging walls. Old bills, bank statements, and ephemera spilled out of boxes and filing cabinets. Letters, contracts, and certifications filled up every drawer, every cabinet. Every scrap of paper that had ever entered the house had remained, heaped and hoarded anywhere space was available."

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