900 Things week 16: Four Fifty


Not my intention, but the organizing pile looks a lot like Jack Bauer and Leonidus vs the Statue of David.

Having rededicated myself to the 900 Things project, I spent a whole day cleaning the Booster Cave last weekend ahead of trips to Cash Convertors, a used bookstore and the Royal Canadian Legion. Anything not sold at the first two became donation at the third.

I took everything down in my home office and redid virtually every shelf and display. For the first time since this project began, my wifey said “where did all of your stuff go?”

Books are now reduced to less than one book case while Booster gets a second shelf to properly give pride of place to the new statue.

I’ve had another curious time with books as I fight completionist habits. For books, I’ve reduced to a few carefully chosen collections including Hunter Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Bob Woodward and Spalding Gray.

I still had a Thompson book in my to-read pile and it was with mixed emotions that I got about 50 pages in and thought “I don’t think I want to read this.” But what do I do with it? Should it go into the collection in case I change my mind? That seems unlikely. I’m moving away from such things, not toward.

I reflected on why these collections bring me joy. They are, to me, my favourite writers. But not every work by even my favourites is in and of itself a favourite. I don’t care for Kerouac’s poetry, for example. I had several of his poetry books in the collection for years thinking that I would someday change that view. They all went partly read to the used bookstore.

IMG_0844The same happened with comics. For years I fought that some writers may have appealed to me at a certain time in their career or for a certain type of work. I came to realize that I don’t enjoy Grant Morrison’s super-hero work-for-hire writing despite loving his creator-owned (many other names are being added to that list along with Nick Spencer, Warren Ellis and Jonathan Hickman).

And so it’s ok to be incomplete. Or to have a complete collection of the work I love. My own Complete Works Of.

One of the hardest things to drill into the head of an accumulator – you are never going to be graded on this. If you don’t find your own reward in what you are collecting, it will not be presented to you by anyone else.

There is no scorecard.


One of the on-going and surprising challenges of this project is how do I count the Things? I have a box of 150 or so comics that will go to the comic show in the fall (or into a recycle bin). Is that 150? Or 1? Or the number of storylines (30-odd)?

IMG_0843This is a picture of the odd mugs and such I’ve piled up in the back of a cupboard over the years. Free gifts with purchase. I like my cream liquors. These then are numbers 447-454 as they go to the recycling bin. I am at the halfway point for what has left the house!

Donated: 63

Ebay: 23

Used stores: 114 Gifts: 10

Recycled: 119

Garbage: 125

Halfway to the goal! The other half is almost completely catalogued. I have maintained the ban on new Things coming in while continuing to have Things go out.

A final note, I’ve decided to go every second Sunday with the blog. I’m finding it hard to maintain with my new job and other commitments.


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