And So It Begins, Again

I had sold nearly all of my records. Again. I had sold nearly all of my books. I’m buying more records. I’m buying more books. And so it begins, again.

Someone recently asked, “How did it feel when you let go of your [record] collection?”

I responded, “Like someone took my memories.” Following up with, “It was also freeing.”

Collecting connects me to things beyond me. Every object acts as a container for ideas and memories, anchors in time like breadcrumbs while also plotting a course ahead.

I forget how many records I had, both times I sold them. The same with books. Putting a single number on a collection of things runs against the grain of my purpose.

I remember when the fine folks from Princeton Audio Exchange showed up at the Barn in a van filled with empty boxes. The process was straight forward — they would go through my records in a single fairly fast pass to give me a rough number, a minimum purchase price, and if that number worked for me they would box everything up and work up an exact amount once they had gone through my record collection with more care back at the shop.

“Works for me.”

As my records began to fill the boxes, we started talking about some highlights, records that meant something more to us. Up until that moment, up until those stories, I didn’t feel anything one way or another about selling my records. It was something I had decided needed to be done. Sharing our special attachments to certain records made me feel like I was falling into a dark, cold, bottomless well. I remember fighting back real sadness at some point, swallowing harder than normal, consciously trying to remain in the moment, out of that well.

My record collection didn’t look so big once it was boxed up sitting in the back of a van that could have fit many more. Back in the Barn alone with empty shelves and a check, I felt like I was floating. It occurred to me that some of the records driving away would never be missed.

Starting a new record collection at the beginning of my sixth decade on Earth makes my heart beat faster. A nearly blank slate to begin writing new memories on, charting a new course for days yet to be lived.