I have been sleeping on scrapbooking. At some point in time, something made me think that scrapbooking was not cool. I imagine it was some TV show or movie where a character who scrapbooked was ridiculed as boring, sentimental, or too emotional. Easy. Boom. Never do it. Yet, years later, far too many in fact, I see that I have quite an accumulation of artifacts, mementos, and frankly, paper, sitting around on the fridge, on desks, and on bureaus. It was time to do something with them.
So I bought a craft paper insert for the unused traveler's notebook that was taunting me from a desk drawer and decided it was time to start gluing things onto its pages. I am pleasantly surprised at how happy it makes me. I am creating an archive for pieces of my past that, had I continued to be so careless, would likely be lost before long.
I already know of far too many instant photos that have disappeared from my grasp, spread out among old houses, lost during moving days, or probably under couches somewhere. What a shame. These are some of my fondest memories—ones that I had the foresight to capture in the moment—and now they are out of my reach. This is something that has only really occurred to me with time (and seeing what I do have attached to my fridge for long enough). But I can learn, and here I am with a glue stick in my hand, and a bunch of scraps of paper, photos, letters friends have sent me, all going into the book.
Call me sentimental if you like. I’ll call myself grateful.
With each memento, I write a couple of notes to remind myself of their origin. Now that I see how my memory fails me, dates disappear from me, and the intent and purpose behind certain moments gets lost.
Some of the artifacts that I've collected are now in this book, and the act of putting them in there has helped reinforce how dear the people are who have given me these gifts. Memories incarnate that I will hold onto. As I sat down with them, I realized the level of friendship and support that people have been offering to me, and I have come to treasure these physical objects for what they do. They trigger memory, they bring back a warmth that is frozen in time, and they show me how people have been there for me.
The act of archiving is a funny one. I am sad that previously I had interpreted it as something that should be derided and subject to an identity I didn’t fit into—the artistic ones, the sentimental ones. I realize now that such assigning was rather unfortunate and now meaningless. It feels like I have found a new act that is purposeful and only for myself. I simply shuffle along, counting the blessings that I have had, re-living the ones that can be so physically represented as I paste them, one by one, into this little, yellow, craft-paper notebook.