It would be so easy for me to move to another place if I were not afflicted with the Paper Curse. Some old hag must have bent over whatever served as my cradle and muttered, "This child will always be at the mercy of stacks of paper," because I always have held on to reams of the stuff. Old letters, old photos, old manuscripts, bits of writing, newspaper clippings, cards...on and on the list goes, stuffed into drawers, into boxes, waiting for the day that I begin to pack up my life and have to go through every scrap, deciding what to keep and what to toss.
Every morning now, while I have coffee, I sort through the accumulation, shredding old paystubs, bank statements, utility bills, by hand of course because I am way too 20th century to have acquired a paper shredder. I am so good at not accumulating--except for old report cards (handed over to me by my mother, in case anyone wonders where this curse actually came from), old notebooks, and I promise not to enumerate the entire list again. Let it be enough to say that my hands are drying out from handling it all.
I tell myself that I've learned my lesson--I have a huge amount of writing on my laptop, and I now own a digital camera--but of course I'm deluding myself. We who suffer from the Paper Curse will never succumb to the joys of the Paperless Office. If we can't handle it, it's not real--and the undocumented life is not worth living.
It's truly painful to throw out the papers that I'm callously discarding. But I know there will be more to fill the gap the minute that I'm settled in my new home. There has to be. That's the only way I ever feel rooted to a place, to a time, to my life.