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Musing on Collecting XI

November 2, 2013

When the Saints Come Marching In

My niece Emily sent me this link to an article on collecting the other day. Allan Gurganus begins by stating “Collections collect collectors. It doesn’t work the other way around. A certain object misses its own kind and communicates that to some person who surrounds it with rhyming items; these become at first a quorum, then a selective, addictive madness.” But not just a madness – collecting is the secret to happiness according to another collector he meets. One of my favorite parts of the article comes at the beginning when he is describing his first collection – leather marble bags. After being invited to a display of his top 10 his father asks, sounding concerned, “How many do you think you’ll finally need, son?” Gurganus concludes that his family just doesn’t get it.

Gurganus collects theories about collecting too (of course he does), I like his conclusion that his collections are what he has instead of an “invisible God or too many cats”.  He writes, “A collection can warm up history. It can console you, a form of rosary-bead love. My diverse holdings signal to me that I am finally home…They help me gather myself.” Amen!

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