I discovered on a dusty little shelf in the basement my favorite kind of donations––a stash of sewing stuff from old women (almost certainly women) of the sort who wound leftover thread around squares of cardboard;
the sort who stored buttons and bobbins in pill bottles--pre-childproof caps;
the sort who seemingly never threw out a needle or pin (watch your fingers, reaching into their sewing baskets).
There was too much to sort in one afternoon, so I took a bag home, along with some of the sewing ephemera I'd been setting aside.
This is some of it. [scroll right > to see the whole image]
A fellow Thrift Herder suggested Julia and I should write about the Thrift Store, which could be fun. She had in mind something fanciful and fictional, but I'd prefer a drier approach, letting the thrift speak for itself as much as possible.
The thrift herders at the store are stories in themselves, too, but I'm wary of exposing other people. I've written before about deciding not to rely on other people as my material, and now I think about it again, I, almost regretfully, still feel the same.
Blogging, I'd had to decide how, and how much, to write about other people. My sister helped me ("helped" me) by asking me, a few years ago when we had a rift, to go through my blog and take out every reference to her.
It was punitive, and I was really mad at her, but it pushed me to think about how I was using people as material.
For some writers, that's the whole point (David Sedaris, Anne Lamott), but I decided I didn't want to go that way, tempting as it is––I just can't find any way to do it without... well, as I said, using people, even if it's for good ends. (I've been used that way in print, and I felt violated by it.)
And I'm not one of those genius writers who transform real life into art--that's a different thing altogether out of my league.
Obviously I do mention the things people say and do, but they're not my main material. But the actual material of someone's sewing basket, that's a different story.