Last night, I gleefully laid out the collection of items I had purchased from the flea market onto the floor and imagined how I will use them in the future. Most of the items were purchased for the garden and some will make an appearance in the photos I take for future book and assignments.
Most of the items that show up in my work projects are also used by me in my home. Few are purchased for one-time usage and then shuffled out the door. Perhaps it would be better that way, but I am a collector, always have been. Still, I can’t recycle the same plates, bowls, and fabrics book after book, photo after photo, so to keep things fresh, I collect an affordable hodgepodge of items that I like, primarily from thrift shops. I’ve never really been into sets anyway. It’s one part of my job that gives me an excuse to indulge in a whim that I would be otherwise forced to curb. It is why I go to the effort of dragging home dirty curbside “treasures” on my bike and why I fill up my luggage with special canning jars when I go away on business trips. In truth, I was doing these things before it became a part of my job — this just gives me the justification I need to continue.
Davin looked on lazily as I went through a sort-of ritual of assembling and disassembling the motley collection. Lay the items out. Ponder their use. Put them away. Pull them out again for a second glance. I looked up at him and remarked that laid out like that, I could see that what I had purchased that afternoon amounted to a pile of crap. If it is rusted, dirty, broken, and has sat unused in the back of a barn or storage shed for at least a decade, chances are good that I will buy it and bring it home. As long as the price is right.
There I sat, like a kid with new toys, delighting in a pile of wares that most people would identify as garbage. I’m like a bird seeking out shiny things, but the things I seem to like most are tarnished, pocked, and laden in a patina of filth.
“They’re for your Tickle Trunk,” Davin said.
“But I don’t collect costumes — I’m not Mr. Dressup.”
“It amounts to the same thing. You use them to tell your stories.”