For this week’s writing challenge, shake the dust off something — a clothing item, a post draft, a toy — you haven’t touched in ages, but can’t bring yourself to throw away.
Our closets, our storage rooms, our blog dashboards. We keep so many different spaces to hold things (old papers, unfinished stories, shoes we’ll never wear again) we rarely revisit, let alone use. Yet those semi-forgotten objects somehow still haunt us by their distant presence, their suspended state. Otherwise, wouldn’t we have gotten rid of them by now?
My biggest “leftover” is my cello.
I’d wanted to learn how to play for years, and finally took the plunge in my mid-twenties. I took lessons and practiced consistently for two years. No one walking past my window would have mistaken me for the ghost of Jacqueline du Pré, but it was fun. I was producing sounds which, to me at least, sounded beautiful, and I was also enjoying that peculiar, self-satisfied sense of pleasure one derives from being disciplined about something.
Then I moved abroad for a year. Logistically, taking the cello with me made no sense; it stayed behind. I never played it again. For years now I can’t even bring myself to open the case.
Yet I haven’t sold it off on Craigslist or donated it to a struggling school district, either. I’ve schlepped this thing through two major moves, and each time took meticulous care not to damage it. (I can’t tell if I’ve been successful — I never open the case, remember?)
This week, I invite you to be braver than me and open your cello case. Tell us about something — an object, a memory, a story — you haven’t touched in a while.
It can be an unabridged history of your Gameboy. It can be an old draft you finally get to finish. It can be a letter you could never bring yourself to send. It need not be sad — it could just as well be about the joy of rediscovery or of letting go. Non-fiction and fiction, longform and aphorism, poetry and prose — all are welcome, as long as they bring some fresh air into your attic, figuratively (or literally).