Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.
As today is also the beginning of Story a Day’s challenge to write a story every day in May, I have decided to link this prompt to theirs, which is to write for 40 minutes.
Well, I confess, I’m somewhat surprised. I expected that today would be more about consolidating everything that I have written (and read!) over the past 4 weeks, which is why I chose not to write a thoughtful overview of the prompts in my free writing exercise yesterday. However, I’m sure that many people will be pleased that we are ending this with a positive prompt and a generous amount of time in which to complete it.
My experience with writing about myself is that I am never as interested in the stories as I am with fiction. I know about my life and find it fairly tedious, despite having done some exciting things in the past. I always find myself more caught up in dark tales of terror and personal struggles, and the exercises that I have done over the past four weeks have not managed to change my mind. There is much more to love in fantasy than in reality. Nevertheless, I will (reluctantly) keep this final post factual.
That is not to suggest that it will be an easy feat. When at first I read this challenge, I thought that I would have no choice but to fictionalise it. I had no idea what to write about. Unfortunately, there are very few things that I own that I feel especially attached to. I could easily replace my clothes and my shoes (all six of them – I have more sense than money) and I would not truly care, despite the few moans I would make about having to wear something different. There are no toys or souvenirs or relics that I hold dear enough to write about, either. No book or movie has captured my heart forever, because there is always another one that comes along to replace it. I have brief mini-obsessions rather than lifelong ones.
It was a thought process that I spent a long time on. What could I possibly write about? Furthermore, what on Earth is so precious to me that I would be able to write about it for a while forty minutes? When, at last, I came up with something, I still felt as though I needed some convincing.
Yet, whether I make this sound like the most wonderful thing in the world, or the most worthless treasure there has ever been, I can avoid the subject no longer. Time is catching up with me and I have done enough running already today (by which I mean I went on the treadmill at the gym). There are other things I must do before this evening, like eat curry and tidy up. Those things simply cannot wait any longer, especially the curry part.
So, here we go. My most prized possession, laid out for all of the world to see.
Stretching from one side of the shelf to the other, from A to Z and with each artist’s work in chronological order, there is nothing I wish to keep in good condition more than my CD collection. Piles of CDs that do not fit on the shelf are perched on top of one another, threatening to unbalance and crash to the floor when I rummage through them. There is never enough space for them; there are never enough of them for me to be satisfied.
These CDs are so precious that they are only removed from their places for one of two reasons: either, a new CD needs to be placed before them on the shelf; or I have bought myself a new laptop (soon! I whisper, grasping at my wallet with sweaty hands) and the songs need to be imported into my new music library. The latter may sound like a laborious task to some, but I enjoy going through each CD and each song again. It allows me to rediscover some of the songs that I have not listened to in a long time, and although there are no songs that take me “back” to some specific point in my history, it is interesting to see how my music tastes have developed over time.
Despite these CDs rarely seeing the light of day, it is extremely important to me that I own physical copies of them. I dislike downloading music online or on iPlayer (which I only use because it is preferable to Windows Media Player), because I cannot physically hold the CD in my hand or leaf through the booklet inside of the case if I only have a digital version of that album. It is not as special and I cannot have any sense of pride about owning that CD – digital copies are almost like not owning the album at all.
Additionally, to pay for something that I will only ever have a computerised copy of seems like an alarming waste of money. Yes, it is up there somewhere on an online account in my name, but it is still like owning nothing at all. How can people be satisfied with downloading music they love instead of paying for the physical CD? Or vinyl, if you’re into that, but I also dislike having to mess around taking it out of the case and physically changing it whenever I want to listen to another band or album. A music collection is not a thing to be gathered together and owned idly. It is something that should capture attention, and it cannot do anything of the sort if it is not there to be touched and handled and physically admired. It is so much more than music.
What perhaps it is most important for me to point out is that a music collection can never be complete. There is always new music to listen to and there is always something that I have never heard before, some classic song or album that I have somehow missed. My wishlist on Amazon is loaded with CDs that I have yearned to own for an age, and when Christmas or my birthday come around I wait with eager anticipation to see them vanished from the unpurchased section and enter the purchased instead. More CDs are frequently added to the list, so that to name every single CD I am after would take me an alarming amount of time.
As if the distressing matter of being unable to complete a collection is not bad enough, there are the discographys of the bands themselves. Will I ever have a complete set? There are the singles and the albums and the live albums and the best ofs – and that’s not to mention any DVDs that my favourite bands release. Why, I need the CD and the DVD to ensure that the collection is (temporarily) completed. How strange it is that some people see no need for the live version if they have the recorded version – oh, how I pity them, for they are missing out on so much!
Now I fear I must tread carefully. As I come to the end of my forty minutes, I happen to find myself struggling to complete this task. If this were a fantasy story or a horror story, I could have some grand finale with which to dazzle you (and myself), but these are CDs and, as much as I love them, inanimate objects. They speak so much, but they cannot always speak for themselves. What one person loves another may find horrendous, and while I am open to most forms of music I gravitate towards rock and metal and my CD collection reflects that: any other genres I will only listen to on YouTube or the radio, for they are not important enough for me to own those songs physically.
And in this, I believe I reflect well upon these past four weeks, because no matter how much or how often we write, our collection of stories and poems will never be complete. There are those of us who crave our physical notes and our copies of our work (I will use myself as an example of that), and those of us who will post them and leave them online. Truth be told, I may never read these posts of mine again, but there is something about having copies of them that gives me a positive sense of achievement.
Yes, this is over now, but like my desire for more CDs, it will not end here. There is much more to be written and so much more to be told. I look forward to reading what your muses create now that they have been stoked by a month of prompts and twists! Write on, my friends (and while you’re at it, you really should listen to some classic rock)!
If you have enjoyed Writing 101 and would like to continue writing every day, then sign up to Story a Day’s May challenge on their website.