There are two types of people in this world: the collector and the non-collector.
Being a collector doesn't just mean that you buy a lot of one thing. Having a lot of books doesn't mean that you collect books. Just like having a lot of shoes doesn't mean that you collect shoes. Being a collector is a characteristic of ones very nature. It informs who we are on a basic level, humming below the surface of our skin, quietly ticking in our brains, urging us, driving us, causing us to crave. Collectors make lists of what they have and what they need. They know the minutia of the items they collect, whether it be the difference between a mastered and an unmastered version of an album, a rereleased version of a toy, a second printing of a comic book, a director's cut of a movie, or the year and season of their designer shoes. A collector is informed. And a good collector is organized.
I had a pretty magical childhood. I grew up going camping, swimming in lakes, playing with my Barbies in the woods, reading mystery novels, watching scary movies, playing hide and seek with my cousins, catching fireflies, taking bike rides, dance classes, shooting guns and learning archery and throwing tomahawks, helping my parents cook, playing with our dogs and cats and rabbits, playing with my sister, exploring our attic full of antiques and toys, building forts, catching frogs and fish, and going on countless adventures that only children can truly appreciate. I am reminded of my childhood daily and I am always grateful for it. But none of it would have been possible without my parents. My amazingly cool parents who opened the world to their children and ushered us bravely through it.
So when I think of my innate desire to remain childless a part of me is sad and disappointed. I have so much to offer a child. Qualities that my parents passed down through example - imagination, creativity, carefree spirit, a desire for fun and adventure, bravery, an open mind, acceptance. Along with my exceptionally intelligent and logical and hilarious husband, we would make some pretty remarkable parents. But here we are, in our mid-thirties, and there isn't an ounce of longing in either of us. So instead we socialize and drink and stay up late. We collect toys and cats and play in bands and write novels. It's a good life. A great life. And I wouldn't trade it. But sometimes I'm reminded of the family life that I grew up having and I sigh and say, Yep, I'm missing that gene.
A little over a year ago I had an idea for a writing project. I wanted to create a serialized story in which I would write and publish a new chapter every week. I wanted to draw readers in with unsolved mysteries and cliffhanger endings. It would be about one woman - Victoria Redburn. A sole survivor of an unexplained apocalyptic event. And we would learn about her story through her own eyes, in her own voice, in the form of handwritten diary entries. It would be called The Redburn Diaries.
And so it began.
I don't think of you often. My life is full and busy and good. I am happy. Different. Changed. The same. I don't think of you often...
But when I do, it's like going blind. My hands grope along the wall and through empty space, trying to find familiarity, searching for something to hold onto, something to embrace. But it's an empty room. It's cold and smooth and devoid of personality. I remember that it once had light, had warmth, had love. But it's like knowing there's a universe of planets spinning all around us. You take on faith what you cannot see.
My favorite Portland event of the year came and went all too fast. One minute I was at the ATM stuffing my pocket full of $20s and collecting my ticket and program to this year's Stumptown Comics Fest. And the next minute I was practically throwing my money at artists and leaving with an empty wallet and a bag full of treasures.
I had a little bit of post-stumptown depression as I was leaving the convention center. It was, after all, still in full swing and here I was leaving in the middle of the hustle and the bustle that was the fest. But I had done half a dozen laps around the room already, I had a measly $4 left in my wallet and I was moments away from plopping down next to a favorite artist or two just to hang out and soak up the atmosphere, becoming that girl. So yeah, it was time to go.