Stuff with Stories

When Annie Leonard and I were working on the Story of Stuff book, we had an insight that Annie is actually not “anti-stuff”at all– she is actually devotional about stuff: choosy about which stuff to bring into her life, appreciative of the resources and craft or skill that birthed the stuff, and dedicated enough to the stuff to repair it or have it repaired or updated, rather than thrown out or replaced. In her home there are pieces of furniture, some arts & crafts, that have been loved for a couple centuries.

I look around my own home and see that there’s a story in nearly everything. The art on the walls is from friends who are artists or artists I’ve met or befriended. I grew up with this old spanish table i’m writing at, already a couple centuries old before it came to my mother (oh, if only it could talk– the stories it could tell!) Even the smoked fish I’m eating came care of a Swedish fisherman I’ve met, who comes to town with deliveries a few times a month and either caught and smoked it himself or knows the guys who did.

This little grouping is jewelry I’ve favored over the past year: the turquoise ring handed down from my mother (from the 1960s); the handmade ombre fringe earrings I bought in a little shop in El Born in Barcelona that featured all local artists (somewhere I have the name of the artist, and her website); and the iridescent glass bead from Californian glass artist Bruce St. John Maher, known to his friends in the Russian River as “St. John,” (which for the longest time I spelled in my head as “Sinjun” for how they say it); it’s one of a handful of “Sinjun beads” I’ve had the honor to wear.

It feels like, with reverence and devotion and *discernment* (if you have too much stuff, you stop being able to have and nurture such special, intimate relationships), it’s ok to be a material girl.

One thought on “Stuff with Stories

  1. Well I, for one, wear the sinjun bead you gave me for material pleasure and nonmaterial support. Turns out that which is made, given and received in love is liberated from the “story of stuff”. Just like us, eh?

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