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73: Murakami and Me and T-Shirts
Thanks for lending me the Murakami book - it was good and the timing was cool. I myself have/had a large tshirt collection that I treasured for years, but spent the last months tearing them apart.
To explain: we’ve been decluttering, after going through the process for both of our parents. Not like Marie Kondo - but trying to save people in the future some time. During COVID, like everyone else, I sought projects, and cataloguing and explaining my shirt collection seemed important for a minute. But after taking pictures of a bunch, and explaining a few, and after our trip especially, I began to wonder: who really cared? Besides myself?
Most of my collections have carried an unconscious imaginary story, in which somebody marvels at it and asks for the stories it carries. I hadn’t realized the futility of that wish until recently, or the teenage nature of the desire. For this reason alone I maybe shoulda had kids - but that’s no kind of guarantee. I never cared about my dad’s stamps. My houseguests don’t look at my stuff, they eat and chat.
But I’m not the type to throw things out - the other reason for my collections is sentimentality. I like remembering moments through things I can touch.
I also like making stuff into other stuff. So when I saw a cartoonist I admire showing off her rag rug-making skills, I went aHA. At the time I was unable to write or draw, too tired from returning to teaching, but I’m not really any good at sitting still - so I tore almost all of my tshirt collection into as many strips as I could, and then braided those together to make ropes, and then I tied those together, and made a big rug.
I can still see the old shirts in here - the military green of the War Memorial shirt, the red of the Ramones shirt you gave me, the blue of Pingu. A little flash of yellow on black - that was my Black Sabbath Pope shirt. It never fit, but it was funny.
I sit on this thing when I meditate now, and I knows it’s a good rug because Stewey likes sitting right in the middle of it. I held back a shirt that shows how little I was when I was 7,
another from my first concert (Kim Mitchell at Sarnia Arena),
and a couple that I thought might be of value to someone someday. But most of my t-shirts are now consolidated into a new thing. When someone someday has to throw it out, I hope they know the story behind it, but if not, at least it’ll be lighter.
I dug Murakami’s essays - they were sweet and easy. I laughed out loud when I read him saying that if he wore a collared shirt his coworkers would ask what was wrong. Some people are apparently just T Shirt people.
Thanks again, and cheers -