While waiting for my new built-in bookshelf to be finished in the office, I’ve left a pile of old binders and conference materials and folders sitting in the dining room for a while. I decided today to go through it to see if there’s anything I can get rid of.

It was a fairly easy decision to recycle conference proceedings on web usability from 10 years ago, although I was surprised out how much relevant material there still was – either I know it or I don’t, so no need for the paper. But I also found a binder full of certificates and letters – thank you letters from bank clients (thank you for your sensitivity in dealing with my father’s estate, thank you for helping to fix the misplaced cheque so that my small business wasn’t adversely affected, thank you for always taking care of my accounts), letters of recommendation from professors, evaluation letters from my teaching practicums (she was not challenged in the class and the students respected her knowledge, humour and individual attention), and different awards and certificates. One of which is for a guide that I wrote in my tech writing days, and the guide was there too – and I must say after all this time that it’s still a kickass piece of work.

I also found the only print version I have of my MA thesis, which I did not get bound when I graduated, since I didn’t have the money. I remember “playing it off” to my peers that it was because I wasn’t into self-publishing or something at the time. Beneath that, I found a few essays I’ve kept for one reason or another. Dense and detailed analyses that, to my out of practice eye, seem astute and academically sound – how did I ever write like that?

These I didn’t throw out. But it was kind of disorienting to read about this scotchneat – a rigorous academic who could write about strange attractors & Don DeLillo, and Lacanian concepts of gender & George Eliot with equal aplomb. This scotchneat was warm, outgoing, a little crazy and a lot of ballsy.

Not that I’m not any of those things now, but let’s face it, I’m middle management in a big company. It all left me a little depressed. As Melle says, sometimes that’s just not ending up where you expected. But I think it’s also a little bit of seeing less than I want to see. I don’t get thank-you letters anymore.