Vanishing (And Reappearing) Act

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-12-23 12:00:00 No comments

So, where was I? Good question. This has been the season of headless chicken imitations.

Last year, my wife and I decided to buy a new house in a different part of town. This kicked off a year-and-change odyssey of struggle that only came to a conclusion the week or so before Christmas 2022. For most of November and all of December I dashed back and forth, finalizing the sale of my original house, organizing the move, packing, clearing out, and occasionally remembering to eat and sleep. We finally moved in as of December 17th. Protip: don't ever try to move right before a major holiday. You'll die of exhaustion. But after death comes transfiguration, and so here I is once again, in my newly appointed office.

Moving forces you to think about what's really important in your life. The last time I did this, about nine years ago, my wife and I got rid of a stupefying amount of stuff. And this time, we did it all over again — and this time, we were able to take an even sterner eye towards what to keep and what to toss out. Over the last couple of days I opened many boxes, shook my head, and realized the person who cared about this stuff no longer exists. A simple realization, and also a horrifying one. Life has marched on and taken me with it. Best to go with the flow.

Case in point. An entire filebox contained untranslated stuff (in Japanese) that I'd held onto in the vain hope that someday I would be able to translate it myself. Two things made those hopes irrelevant. One, many of those items had already been translated, and by better hands than mine. Two, my priorities have changed immensely in the last decade. I've stopped trying to do many things badly, and am trying to concentrate on doing a few things well — the biggest being creating my own original work. For that a few other things had to fall by the wayside. Only twenty-four hours in a day and only one of me.

In some cases, practicality won out over nostalgia or completeness. Philip K. Dick is a key author in my personal library, but I let go of the paper copies of all his work, save maybe for Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?. I don't mind re-acquiring them digitally as the need arises. His work is not going anywhere, and so I feel no obligation to hoard it. But my art books, for the most part, stayed. The format, the presentation, the contents all deserve to be experienced properly. Digital editions don't suffice. Call me when we have a large-format reading device that can reproduce the look of spot Pantone colors! (You've heard this riff from me before, you'll probably hear it again.)

This may be the last post for the rest of the year, depending on the circumstances. Next time I come back, I should be sharing news about future projects.

Tags: excuse our dust real life