I’ve realized that my life involves a lot of collecting. I’m not a collector of collectibles in the limited edition, hand-painted, as-seen-on-a-home-shopping-channel figurine sense of collectibles. And it’s not just things, though I certainly have a lot of stuff. (Way, way too much stuff.) I have a collection of collections.
Books are a big collection. And movies. And music. And with the media, it’s not just that I like to collect the physical objects (though I have a weakness for a first-edition or beautifully-bound book), but I like to collect their contents and other attributes. I like to categorize my media: Hong Kong martial arts movies, superhero movies, TV shows with a kick-ass heroine, Booker Prize-winning novels, signed first editions, songs with a color in their title, rock songs that are waltzes, signed first editions of Booker-prize winning novels featuring Hong Kong martial artist women superheroes whose theme songs are rock waltzes featuring color terms…
Over the course of my life I have started, inherited or accidentally accumulated collections (of varying sizes) of such items as boxes, rocks, socks, scarves, china, post cards, stamps, mobiles, yo-yos, beads, items with a lizard motif, vintage dresses, pens, inks, bottles and half-used jars of jam. I once even had a collection of dimes, and they were really just dimes. (This was when I was 9.)
I also seem to have a collection of hobbies. Hobbies that I am quite serious about, if often serially. I have at times been very involved in painting, jewelry-making, martial arts and music. I’ve devoted varying amounts of time to reading, book discussions, writing, cooking, travelling and photography as well as attempting to learn to knit, juggle, do yo-yo tricks and garden.
I tend to collect facts, too. Sometimes it’s intentional, such as those emails that people send out with lists of funny word definitions. And it’s often inadvertant, such as retaining useless trivia that I read off a cereal box in 1979 or remembering what someone else at my dinner table ordered at a restaurant 3 years ago.
In a way I collect people, too. (Don’t worry, not in the sense of bodies buried in my basement.) I like having friends and acquaintances from a variety of backgrounds, professions, walks of life. And I’ve realized that I will sometimes co-index them in my mind with some commonality like “enjoys bluegrass music,” or “once had a Weimeraner.”
And recently I’ve come to realize that my chosen profession (linguistics) is based on collecting and categorizing, which may be one of the things that has drawn me in that direction all these years. I get to collect patterns and constructions, examples, counter-examples and all sorts of other data and metadata.
So I intend this blog to be, at least in part, a way for me to manage my collections. I hope to sort through the clutter in my mind, and file things away in their various (cross-referenced) places.
By the way, I almost started my blog on blogger, which appealed to me largely because the name reminds me of frogger. But as it turns out, they don’t have a built-in “categories” feature. Since my joy in (and salvation from) collecting comes from classifying and categorizing, this was a deal-breaker for me.