30 August 2017
My mother got me the most unusual gift.
At least I haven’t heard of anyone ever intentionally acquiring one of these. And it’s not something that ends up in your house without serious intent and commitment!
I ve never heard of anyone putting one of these on their wish list or owning one. Aside from my mother and her parents before her.
I don’t even know of business owners owning them!
And I know a lot of small business owners.
What my mother got me was; a metal four-drawer filing cabinet.
(not the one on the photo – that’s how mine would look if I would invest in painting things so they look nice!)
She had purged her archives and one of her four metal (grey!!) cabinets had become available.
There was only one condition: I had to arrange for it to be carried up the stairs of my apartment. I probably have to give my firstborn to ever compensate my friend for that favor but it was worth it.
Since yesterday, I am the proud owner of my very first, metal, fire-resistant filing cabinet.
Which in 2017, a time of collective decluttering, Marie Kondo and minimalism, feels absolutely ancient.
I felt we were hauling a Second World War relic up the stairs.
I also received about two hundred folders, but you can also store ring binders, photo albums and diaries in there, without putting them in a folder.
“That should be enough to get you started,” my mother said when she gave me the box of folders.
At which the friend who was helping me responded;
“You can now compartmentalize your life into two hundred separate bits.”
So no, I m not short on folders. But I can tell you, that cabinet? It’s FULL. Not a 100% but only because I haven’t stored or sorted through still-to-be-processed photoprints, didn’t file my correspondence in there and didn’t include my photo negatives, nor the four kilos of children’s drawings my mother returned to me.
Now that I had a cabinet, I was old enough to file my own drawings.
Although there is too little room to store everything I want, the result is phenomenal.
I can now take Facebook’s memory feature “What happened X years ago” to a whole new level.
I can show you what I did on this day 26 years ago!
My diary, my agenda, my photo album, my folder with souvenirs;
I can see it at a glance!
And I happen to know, that 26 years ago something HUGE happened; I met Benjamin.
I know exactly where it happened, and yet there is almost nothing that reminds me of it…
Someone took a picture of me at the event, and it coincidentally had him on it as well. That’s all that remained.
All other evidence got lost.
I know there was a paper trail surrounding the event and there is also one agenda missing. It’s the one agenda I threw away. Maybe it was in an effort to be normal and to get rid of an agenda as soon as the year had past. Or maybe it was because I knew exactly how important it was and therefor I wanted it destroyed.
Fifteen years later I started to reconstruct our history, in the Dutch novel Mango.
I kept on writing which became in the English book Dutch American Diary.
For six, seven and ultimately eight books, I wrote about Benjamin. And after their release, I created one collective work:
Het Boek Benjamin (The Book of Benjamin)
For whatever paper trails and agendas I destroyed, whatever log I failed to fill out and whatever diary entries I didn’t make;
In the end the story of Benjamin produced more written evidence than all of the four drawers of my filing cabinet combined.
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living
coming soon: new books
1. Reboot – a hero’s journey. Diary 2017-2020
2. I M NOT CHANGING MY FUCKING SHOW
3. Big Mistress – confessions, columns and sex advice from the other woman
4. Blote Kont- (Dutch)
5. ALL THE THINGS – unpublished work 2010 – 2020