This is actually a piece written three years ago, about this same time of year, but it still holds true, with a few updates. And the music’s pretty good too.;)
As part of my spring cleaning project, I’m disposing of thirty years’ worth of journals. Totally aside from being major dustcatchers and prime breeding ground for silverfish, spiders and other vermin, the oldest ones have been chewed to hell by things with teeth.
I have been begged by a very few people (okay, Lily’s the only one!) not to destroy that much writing, but I want rid of all the nastiness those notebooks hold. So I dragged out my Wally World-on-sale-shredder, and to its gnashing whine I began to think of country songs befitting the theme.
Hanging on to all that crap had gotten to be an obsession, like the poor sap in “He Stopped Lovin’ Her Today”: “Kept some letters by his bed/Dated 1962. . .”
With a shudder I turned to Randy Travis’s jocular “Diggin’ Up Bones.” Indeed I could be “exhumin’ things that’s better left alone” but I figure the less evidence I’m truly a pompous ass at heart, the better.
There were two others that came to mind, both recorded by a myriad of artists: “Old Love Letters” and “Burning Bridges.” Unfortunately, save for some highly insincere ones I wrote to God during a desperate phase, there are no love letters in the collection. As for “Burning Bridges,” it only reminded me of a quip attributed to the late NYC mayor Fiorello LaGuardia: “I never worry about burning my bridges, because I never retreat!”
Finally, I decided that the nearest song thematically was Ray Price’s stunning “Burning Memories” (with certain modifications).
I also made a list of reasons to shred. In reverse order, they are:
There are no obsessive would-be biographers banging down my door, begging for the chance to write FAIRWEATHER LEWIS: BLOG YOUR HEART OUT, COUNTRY GIRL. Not even the ever-loyal Willard will touch that one. On a more practical note, I'm also eliminating any potential for blackmail.
I don't need written depositions about my father's abuse: I won't be his prosecutor in the afterlife.
I don't need written reminders of the sweet funny things my precious nephew and nieces have done from babyhood: those are locked up in my heart.
The weather's pretty dry in the knobs at the moment, so the chances of me getting a permit for a bonfire of the inanities are between slim and none.
And lastly, try as you might, you can't burn memories over a gas heater.
But I can duet with Ray Price while I shred.