Casting Off

These posts come from a blog that began as an email exchange and evolved into a writing exercise centered around the process and effort of letting go of material possessions.

Cast is one of those English words with so many fascinating meanings and applications.

Old clothes are cast-offs, but we also cast off from a dock, cast on and cast off knitting.  We cast a play.  We cast about for ideas, and we cast a line to fish with.  We cast out demons and are cast into darkness.  Two seemingly contradictory notions are simultaneously contained in the word:  both a sense of tossing away and that of holding on.

Even this blog is a type of broadcasting, and could become a podcast.  So, let us cast away, and be off!

Bookbox

The Volume of Volumes

Books sometimes seem destined to vanish from modern society, like the handwritten letters that used to arrive in the mail.  That makes it even harder to let them go. How did we acquire so many books?  I know I began treasuring them as a child, and when I recently began sorting and boxing, I found… Continue Reading The Volume of Volumes

toyparts

Space Case

What to do with all this plastic?  Pounds of toys that I tried to sort and keep in order for years, as my sons grew up.  Little broken parts and pieces kept in the vain hope that they might match up to one another and become whole again. I had a box full of of… Continue Reading Space Case

t-shirts

Every T-shirt Tells a Story

Surely I am not the only American of boomer vintage who clings to a pile of imprinted jersey tops.  I pulled these out of a bag in the basement closet and thought:  a life told in t-shirts.  And these are just the ones I put aside, after they became too worn, too dated, or too… Continue Reading Every T-shirt Tells a Story

Morris Chair

Please Be Seated

In this city of many students, it a huge housing shuffle takes place every year, this time of year.  Two of my sons are moving, and I have gotten involved in the process.  I want to tell them to be careful what they carry into their new abode, to do-as-I-say-not-as-I’ve-done, and avoid accumulation. But, throwing my… Continue Reading Please Be Seated

Maps fanned

Where Have I Been?

These showed up in a forgotten drawer, in a neglected desk consigned to the basement years ago:  a collection of maps, flyers, and brochures from every place I’ve visited (and several I haven’t).  And that’s not all.  Many more maps are carefully stored in other cabinets, or folders.  Or the car. Now, with our smartphones… Continue Reading Where Have I Been?

Shoe pile

Walk a Mile

When it comes to footwear, I’m pretty sure I’m not in Imelda’s league.  Nonetheless, there are more old pairs in my closets than I could ever possibly wear.  Some of them hold sentimental value, and some potential danger, as I’ve lost the skill of walking in high heels.  Others are simply an existential burden:  too… Continue Reading Walk a Mile

Storm 5-2012

Storm Warnings

We didn’t feel the worst of Hurricane Sandy here, but our utility power has been out for three nights now.  Yesterday a friend came by with a portable gasoline generator, so I’m not working by candlelight.  We have an Internet connection and working refrigerator. At first, I felt ambivalence.  The weather is still fairly warm,… Continue Reading Storm Warnings

Casting Off

These posts come from a blog that began as an email exchange and evolved into a writing exercise centered around the process and effort of letting go of material possessions. Cast is one of those English words with so many fascinating meanings and applications. Old clothes are cast-offs, but we also cast off from a dock, cast on… Continue Reading Casting Off