Welcome to my Divestore ...

Posted: November 18, 2003 AM

The single most important thing that I have realized in the last decade is that I seem to be spending too much time and effort protecting, maintaining, and keeping track of my stuff. I have decided that anything that I have not used for over a year must have become unneccessary. Therefore, in an effort to become a divester I have set up this divest-store.

This site really IS a social experiment. In the course of setting up this system to dispose of most of my accumulation of material-plane possessions (and I am serious that I want to get my collection of stuff "managable" and my tendency to collect stuff "under control") I have come to several conclusions that appear to be worth sharing.

The thought process that led me to these conclusions began several years ago, in the aftermath of the first in a long series of break-in burglaries after the meth-people discovered what was inside my house and shop.

What I realized, and what I wrote at the time, was that the most important loss - what had been taken from me that ultimately mattered even more to me than the items themselves - was my role in the business of deciding who got them next, and under what terms these things would be transferred. For example, I had already "gifted" the brown-face Fender Super to blues-legend Alice Stuart, who had been plagued with amp troubles for years, but she didn't make it back to P.T. in time to pick it up before they stole it.

It has taken me a couple more years to stumble upon the right words to express the reason why this was true, that my role in the business of deciding who gets them next, and the terms of the transfer, matters because it involves the stories these things had accumulated under my stewardship. Because the most important thing that these things do for people is accumulate stories.

Most methods of commerce and most commercial thing-transfer processes deliberately strip the things of their stories. Used car salesmen strip the story off the car, Realtors strip the majority of the story off the house (like the crazy neighbors who has his yard ringed with motion-sensitive floodlights and runs his outboard motor on weekends or the impossible-to-thaw-once-frozen water-pipes), and pawn shops and music stores strip the stories off their musical instruments and their amplifiers, antique dealers make up stories about the past owners. A lot of my stolen possessions apparently got sold at yard sales, stripped of their stories. That loss of connection to the past, to the stories, is almost always unfortunate, sometimes it's probably criminal and I actually think it is largely avoidable. This dialogue is part of it.

Joe Breskin Port Townsend

Revised January 2004

© Joe Breskin 2003 - 2004
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