19 November 2010

Day 237: Dan Walker (guest blogger)

Summerland by Michael Chabon.  ISBN: 9780786808779.

At one point in the story, our heroes have been captured by not-so-nice faeries.  Two of them break loose and search throughout the faeries' compound for a magic thingy that will heal their wounded friend.  As luck would have it, they eventually make their way into the fearies' treasure chamber.

Chabon points out that rather than being full of gold and jewels, the room is jam-packed with junk: broken odds and ends, discarded bits of stuff, and a whole lot of unmatched socks.  In other words, one human's trash is a faerie's treasure.  And while the fae seem to value most the things which they can steal undetected, I can still sort of sympathize with them.

All my life, I've always walked with my eyes pointed groundward and because of this choice in vantage points, I've brought many a piece of useless crap home.  I'm a compulsive junk collector, you might say.  Anything which I see on the sidewalk, in the grass, in the dirt, in the snow, or tarred to the road surface has a chance of winding up in my pockets, and from there, onto one of my shelves or one of the many heavy, plastic containers I have full of useless crap.  I've kept them around for years.  Did I mention I'm compulsive?

What I'm likely to pick up is hard to quantify.  Shiny things attract my attention.  The bulk of my collection is made up of rocks, but I've lately stopped really noticing those.  I tend to pick up things which are whole unto themselves, but otherwise broken.  Stuff with moving parts is great.  I've found toys, screws and bolts, jewelry (probably my favorite), wooden things, dice, rubber stampers, bottlecaps, cell phone batteries, pieces of plastic...  I could really go on and on.  I once found an entire car headlight, sans bulb.

Of course, it isn't all useless.  One of my most prized possessions is a metal hoop, a little over a foot in diameter, with a kink on one edge.  I think it used to be a TV antenna of some kind.  I hope to turn it into a microphone windscreen one day.  Not to mention, I find money constantly.  I once found over two dollars in random coins scattered over a ten-foot section of sidewalk.

I really think that what makes this 'hobby', if you will, so compelling is the sense of finding value where someone else sees none.  They discard it, I pick it up and treasure it.  And money is the best example, because you can actually use it for something.  One man's trash and all that.  Yes, dear, the junk is coming with me when we move in together.*  Some of it, anyway.

*That's what you think.

Dan Walker (pseudonym) is a writer from Northeast Ohio, who would be teaching ESL if he wasn't unemployed temporarily working at a bookstore. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Wright State University in 2004 and a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language from Kent State University in 2009. He will make some lucky librarian a wonderful husband someday. 

**This post was originally written September 26, 2010 to allow the regular author a break and/or a chance to catch up on her own reading. 


  1. Great post! Hunting for hidden treasures can be great fun...so long as you have a place to store it. Otherwise we might see you profiled on one of those TV show, "Hoarders"!
    Books are great to unearth in unexpected places, too!

  2. Oh Amy,
    You have no idea how I worry about this. If I let him that man would fill my house with nothing but transformers toys and bits of random broken junk.

  3. Hah, I'm not quite "Hoarders" bad. I tend to pick up small things, my most recent acquisition is a little plastic black pyramid thing that's kind of neat.

    And there's absolutely nothing wrong with Transformers.

  4. There most certainly is something with an almost 30 year old collecting Transformers.


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