It's possible I've sneezed over thirty times today.
Does that sound like a lot? Packing for next week's house move has made the air grimy with the kind of dust normally only encountered in cave exploration or crematoriums, and I've been forced to face up to a few home truths about my inadequate housekeeping, ie. that some parts of the floor - like underneath my bed, for example - haven't been vacuumed even once in the whole year that I've lived here. Nasty.
This is one of the side-effects of moving house - that the scales of denial fall from your eyes regarding how you actually live as compared to how you like to think you live. Those four bags of clothes I've been carting from house to house for the past three years and jamming beneath my bed frame? Never going to wear them. Never. The pants that need mending? Unlikely to get fixed. The enormous cardboard box stuffed with scraps of writing (poems, press-clippings, half-finished performance pieces, love letters, diaries and notes for a play I was once co-writing and which ingloriously never panned out) that I paid to have shipped to Melbourne when I moved here and haven't even opened in the three years I've lived here? An albatross, so to speak, slung around my neck. Better, surely, to set fire to the lot, write new poems and buy new pants? Of course. And indeed there will be new poems and new pants.
Yet you can also bet your shiny glass eye that all those crap, broken, redundant vestiges of a former life will be coming with me to the new house.
On another note:
Every now and again, I come across someone so achingly articulate it makes me curse my own lumpen brain. Bad, bad brain. This man, whose website I discovered this afternoon, is one of those people.
His name is Michael Barrish. He is a writer, living in Brooklyn. His website, Oblivio, features stories/journal entries describing such things as a recipe for burnt soup ("1. Begin with soup..."), the contents of his 'insanely sexy' bag, and an account of how he once got caught reading the diary of someone he had a crush on.
But my favourite so far is his heartbreaking story about a man writing a letter to an ex-girlfriend.
At this stage, having just discovered his writing, I can't yet determine how much of it is autobiographical. Though I don't think it really matters. Either way it is extraordinary.