There's been a lot going on around Kiamo Ko / The Cattery / My Home. I just haven't had the time or inclination to write about any of it, which is strange being that all of the changes and sacrifices I made were so that I could write more.
Life isn't fair.
My new job has coincided with a newly discovered interest, that of archiving. I mentioned this before and it has turned into an interest that I cannot help but pursue. I don't know that I have so very much to archive, but I shall find things. I have letters that my father has written me. I have received many, many letters in my life – from the time before the internet and email – but I don't believe that I have any of them any more. If I come across them, you can be sure that I will take care of them.
I don't really know what I'm doing, though. I have a nifty scanner, so I plan to scan the items and keep electronic copies of things. I have acquired acid-free, archive quality sheet protectors and a notebook. (I'm only beginning and I have precious little to conserve at the moment.) From what I've found online these things are very important. I would like to find a library that does preserve letters and other ephemera, just so that I could learn from them how to properly preserve and catalogue.
In addition to letters and personal ephemera, I plan to arrange my photographs. That will be a related, but different sort of project. I'm thinking of Creative Memories, or something to that effect. My interest in genealogy has also been piqued again, simply from working at a place that handles birth and death records – actual paper records, from what I'm told. (I only get to see what has been electronically imaged.) This job has opened my eyes to a lot.
From studying history and other reading that I've done I have gathered that atmosphere is a very important consideration. The deserts of Egypt have papyrus writings from thousands of years ago. The dry air does not encourage moisture to get into the paper, which tends to allow it to last longer. Rainforests, on the other hand, are little beds of life. A picture on the wall will mildew within weeks, if not days, in that level of humidity. People have to fight it all of their lives – from their paper products, their clothing, towels, etc. Mildew is a type of fungus and it begins the process of breaking down organic matter. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. In The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Leah reflects on Africa's ability to take its land back, no matter what Man does. Africa always reclaims. Leave a garden unattended for a few weeks and you wouldn't know that it was ever there. Life destroys things, organic things especially, in the cycle of living and dying. In the arid desert that processed is slowed – almost to a stop – and preservation is possible.
All of this makes me think of a friend of mine, Sunny. She is part of an organization called Society for Creative Anachronism. People dress and play the part of different time periods – all European from what I can tell. There are sword fights, dinners, kings, queens and all of the trappings of the particular era that they are focusing on. Sunny's interest seems to lie mostly in the historic study of the eras, particularly regarding the clothing and recreating it as close to authentically as possible. (I haven't seen her discussing dueling, cooking or other activities.) Not only does she want to find or make patterns for the appropriate styles, but she is interested in the types of fabrics that would have been available and even the method of sewing from the era in question. Sewing machines were becoming available in the early 19th century, which is very recent in our history. So, hand-sewing is what would be ideal for the authentic replication of the clothing. (That's not to say that she always has time for such things, but it is what she claims would be ideal.) Online I have witnessed her struggles with button holes and other fine stitching. She has received at least one commendation for her pursuit of historical accuracy, not only in her own endeavors but to bring her fellows to a level of accuracy that they might not otherwise be inclined to spend time on.
This study of history, the pursuit of knowledge and of preserving heritage is something I can relate to, even if I can't relate to the sword fights and politics of the pretend royalty and aristocracy. I tend to get the feeling that I really ought to pay attention to current events as much as history, so I've begun to read more newspapers and magazines. (The current political climate has also encouraged me to take a more active role in our society.) So, now I have magazines that I can hoard... preserve. I've written before that sometimes it helps an artist to be surrounded by things that encourage creativity, as long as we don't let it get out of control. This is where I need honest friends to help keep me real when it comes to hoarding tendencies. And, I need to learn to listen to them.
So, I'll let you go now. Thank you for taking the time to read my words. I do hope they have touched your life in some way. If they have, please take the time to write a comment below to let me know about it.
Until later I remain