Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Media consolidation mission

Well, I am moving again. This time I will be going up to San Francisco, and in short order – with luck, we will be out of our LA place by the end of this month. Because we are transferring apartments within our current company’s system, it is going faster than usual, and there were no deposits or background checks or whatever else. I looked at places last week, found one, signed a piece of paper, and we are now underway.

My mission as of late is to further compress my life into fewer boxes and shelves. My office has six bookshelves, and my goal has been to eliminate the tallest one, which I got made for me when I lived in Astoria. It is falling apart, looks like hell, and is always in danger of falling over. I also would like to free up that space and reduce my bookcase footprint. A huge pile of books have gone to Amazon for resale, and a bunch more have been recycled or wait to be donated. I also moved a bunch of DVD box sets off of one shelf and into plastic tubs for storage in a closet. I don’t need immediate access to every single DVD I own, and although at one time I felt some need to have every spine displayed of every DVD in my collection, I’d now rather have every single thing hidden in a storage unit of some sort. With that shift, there are now no longer any books on that shelf, and it will go to the chipper soon.

I also have a bunch of “misc” boxes that have followed me across the country ten times over, at least since college. When I got to LA, I had this down to two printer paper boxes and six smaller plastic tubs. I managed to eliminate one of the paper boxes yesterday, which was a major triumph. One of the problems, aside from that I’m wasting entire days trying to eliminate half a cubic foot of storage, is the nostalgia aspect of the whole thing, and how hard it is for me to let go of some things that meant so much to me at one time.

Some of this isn’t hard. I have ten copies of every death metal zine that passed through my hands in 1993, and I really don’t give a shit about any of them anymore, so they all went to the recycler, unless I wrote something in them. I have a lot of zines and papers in which I had a review or short piece in a column, and it was easier for me to tear out that page and chuck the rest than it was to keep hauling around the whole thing. But there were other things. I found this shirt in a box, a polo shirt that I wore a lot in 1992, and I mentioned in Summer Rain frequently. I don’t know why I kept it, except that in 1999 when I was writing the book, it was easy to pull out this shirt and think of 1992. Now, I can pitch it. It’s hard to do, but sometimes keeping just the memory is better than keeping the associated hardware.

I also went through all of my photos yesterday, meaning that every single analog photo I’ve taken from 1982 to 2000 passed through my hands. There was a lot of low-hanging fruit to pitch, like pictures of blackness or a flash against a glass window. I eliminated doubles when I could. I threw out photos of people I never met in person. All of the blurry artistic stuff went in the garbage. All of these decisions were helped by the fact that I scanned in all of my negatives a year ago, and all of this old stuff was in iPhoto. I managed to remove about 25% of the space in my photo storage area, which is huge.

It was also weird. I am an overly nostalgic person sometimes, so to look at all of these photos from 1983 and 1988 and 1993 and 1996 made me feel weird. I had some severly negative feelings about my prom in 1989, but I found dozens of photos from it. In all of them, I looked the same, this deer-in-headlights look, like someone at a blackjack table who just bet too much and watched the dealer with a ten showing turn over an ace. I found pictures I took in 1983 with my Kodak 110 camera of the state Future Problem Solver’s competition, on the big giant metro campus of IU-Purdue at Fort Wayne. Twenty years later, I’d be standing on a beach in Hawaii, trying to shake a long plane ride out of my head, but at that moment, 90 minutes in a stationwagon was like a trip to the moon. And there’s a stack of pictures (and doubles) from a trip to Canada in 1988, my first, in which it looks like I spent the whole trip saying “wow, they have 7-Eleven in Canada! Let me take 100 pictures of it! I wonder if Geddy Lee ever shops here?”

Another task as of late is rating or re-rating thousands of songs in iTunes. I figure I have at least a couple of six-hour drives ahead of me, so it would be good to get some playlists and podcasts and new ratings in my iPod for that. So if you see anything weird in my playlist to the right, that’s why.

Back to work…