Ruminations on Discarding a Drafting Table
by Steven McCabe
Was it a mistake to throw out the old drafting table during my decluttering blitzkreig with its thousands of hours of receptivity to mark making, creating & colouring upon a flat screen opening to the unknown through seasons of catastrophe, celebration, and hope
Only to discover new ones at the same price, half the size, rickety, like stacking plastic toy soldiers until they fall to the floor beside the laundry and a coupon expired
Standing half as tall – is this how people live today – cramped / like ceilings pressing at odd angles, like too much irony or TV news or variety shows with varieties of one crop farming
In the city I discarded what I could squeeze into a hole, after it made itself known, who could fail to notice this hole, brazenly tapping at the doorway like trance drumming & insisting on action
As loud as a hole can be without attracting the attention of other shapes competing for psychic food although that might be a personification best for allegory or proverb
& Even vibrations (especially vibrations!) passing into wood or metal created in the right spirit, I’m sure it was the right spirit, know they are the right size for the hole, the circle, the absence, the sun
Though saying goodbye to memories vanishing into & beyond the hole might be a mistake, if there are mistakes in the ecology of memory and in the shadow of labour – no I am sure there cannot be, and a goodbye is never a forever, yes it often is
In this new world, either squatting, or hiding from the enemy, or working within form shrinking from moisture or heat or time, one realizes a newer price will have to be paid for a full size, it’s no longer one size fits all, it’s no longer all at all
One might reclaim discarded memories in the hole though they float away forever, but the idea of agreeing, I think, is to create another hole, a flourishing courier system arriving in the future at the other doorway, or now, and how can any mistake be made while awaiting couriered delivery
Of it all & with a great sadness, goodbye
“Tried to save the trees/Bought a plastic bag/The bottom fell out/It was a piece of crap” –Neil Young
The hole is always demanding, and as you rightly point out, another hole always opens, bringing yet more of what might eventually be swallowed but those things that we simply could not live without are timeless, and will never be allowed anywhere near the hole.
It’s very interesting to hear your poetic views on ‘the hole.’ I really like your thought about things we cannot live being timeless and not allowed near the hole. That takes things in a new direction. I wonder if possibly the new ‘hole’ or ‘pipeline’ delivers a new form of timelessness.
‘things we cannot live without’
Decluttering is sometimes the only way to realise that the things we simply could not live without, will never be allowed anywhere near the hole.
I suspect it’s very much part of a process of realization. And sometimes if one is fortunate such realizations come at the perfect moment.
Second comment is to remind me while I declutter once again before moving house
Your visual ‘ruminations’ are enchanting and compelling. They are how memory is, not was. Deconstructed, re-created, played with and turned like kaleidoscopes…
I need longer tho to fully taste your words on my tongue, so many rich layers
Thank you John. Love your line ‘…how memory is, not was…’ Fascinating to think of memory in the present tense turned like a kaleidoscope. So many poetic ideas swirling in that image!
A pleasure always
I clearly remember the two drafting tables I let go of because they didn’t fit into the storage unit. Standing there, side by side, on the roadside, waiting for their next owners, who would be happy to find them, even as they divested themselves of the history we had to enter their new drawing lives.
Ah, the “ecology of memory,” yes, but the holes into which they disappear, not yet. Or is it the items, the things, the what-we-let-go-of that disappear into the eventless horizon lines of black holes…