Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Collecting or Hoarding?

My school has an exhibit on the practice of collecting and is displaying a sample of some of my collections. The exhibit closes this week, but there's still time to see my and others oddities displayed. For more information on the exhibit read the University of Toronto's news item: Faculty of Information’s 'cabinets of curiosities' on display.

The event organizers wanted the collectors to write about their collection and name it. For the first time I actually thought of my stuff as a collection. I thought of calling it "The Eccentric, Eclectic Hoard" but figured that "Saving Weird Stuff" was more accurate. I hadn't really thought about my collecting process or motivations before. I realized that I do have a propensity to save and organize stuff, whether it is souvenirs, books, objet d'art, or digital resources. I've written before about how my Delicious bookmarks provided a sense of control and satisfaction, but hadn't looked at my collecting more holistically.

Am I collector or hoarder? I'm not ready to go on TLC's “Hoarding: Buried Alive” (I hope) but I am a serial saver. Over the years, I've amassed many collections: comic books, fridge magnets, old books about the Internet, pins, postcards, Toronto history books, socks, sunglasses, View Master disks, etc.

A few years ago I realized my collecting was more pathology than hobby, so I started pruning. I now maintain most collections only passively. Collections like mine, however, have a way of never dying as friends and family continue to donate items and I continue to stumble upon irresistible acquisitions. In reexamining my collections, however, I was struck that the intrinsic qualities of an item are now often secondary to the memories they evoke – and thus worthy of saving/hoarding. But possibly in a more selective manner.

3 comments:

Mac said...

Hello,
My name is Mac Christie and I am a journalism and history student at Carleton University in Ottawa. I am working on a documentary about the Diefenbunker and came across an article you wrote on BootsnAll in 2000 about the Diefenbunker. What I am specifically interested in is the protest song from Carp. Do you have any idea who wrote it or what the rest of the song is?

Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Mac said...

Hello,
My name is Mac Christie and I am a journalism and history student at Carleton University in Ottawa. I am working on a documentary film about the Diefenbunker and came across an article you wrote for BootsnAll in 2000 about the Diefenbunker. In it you mention a protest song that was written in Carp. I am interested in finding out who wrote the song as well as getting the rest of it.

If there is any way you can help me out that would be greatly appreciated. Please e-mail me at mackenzie.christie@gmail.com

Thank you,
Mac Christie

Glen Farrelly said...

Hi Mac:

I went to Carleton for journalism too.

I forgot that the BootsnAll article was still live. Unfortunately, I can't recall where I got the lyrics to the Diefenbunker song. I'm sure it is one of two places a) a brochure handed out by the Diefenbunker staff or b) a website.

I tried googling the latter and couldn't turn anything up. Sorry, I couldn't be of more help. A reference librarian or local musicologist at Carleton may be better able to track it down than me.

Cheers,
Glen Farrelly