Let’s pretend for a moment that for whatever reason (and for the purposes of touching wood, I won’t give examples of any reasons) you had to suddenly flee the place where you lived. I won’t define the word “place” in this case as a city, apartment or house, workplace, etc. But… you let’s say you had to flee, from whatever place you choose for the purposes of this exercise. And let’s say you are only allowed to grab with you, five things. They must be transportable belongings as you don’t have time to coordinate the movement of something large and/or cumbersome. They should be objects that you have ready access to, right? They certainly don’t “have” to be, but it would make more sense if you were to immediately flee. The objects must be inanimate (pets don’t count as objects). And of course, you would clearly be grabbing your purse and/or wallet and keys, and so these items go without saying. Other than the aforementioned criteria, which five items would you choose, and why would you choose to take them?
I would pick…
1. Tornado, my stuffed horse. I think often times, in even mini crises, we require both objects of comfort, and objects which remind us of our roots, of past encarnations of ourselves, of simple times. For those reasons, and that you should never ever leave a man behind, I would reach for Tornado first and foremost, actually. He is truly one of my most important belongings.
2. My copy of Love is Hell on 10″ vinyl. I have a decently extensive record collection that I love dearly. I have The Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers”, a tenth anniversary edition of Ryan Adams’ Gold, I have Neil Young and the White Stripes and Blitzen Trapper and Vetiver and Bright Eyes in all their shiny spinning glory and all of them are an extremely important part of my my musical repetoire; however, no record is as important to me as Love is Hell both on an emotional and physical level; it is my favourite album of all time and also VERY VERY hard to come by. I actually keep it in my room and not with my other records, and it would be a must-grab.
3. My external hard drive, because it contains ALL of my writing and photos. It is a fair amount of irreplaceable data that consists of all of my memories and my entire portfolio of everything I’ve written in the last five years.
4. My ipod, which contains the most precious thing of all: all of the music I love. I would need to connect to this music as much if not more upon fleeing, as I do every single day of my life. My ipod IS me; it is a microextension of myself and something I couldn’t fathom leaving home without.
5. This last one was hard for me; while the first four were incredibly obvious, there are a few items that I can think of that would make this list, and I’m undecided as to which one is more important; in the end though, I would take my autographed copy of Brian Morton’s “Starting Out in the Evening” which provides me with two things: firstly, a constant reminder of really just how epic my two best friends are, that they would go through so much trouble to get me what was the simplest yet most heroic and appreciated gift I may have ever received, and secondly, the notion that in my writing life, and in my personal life, it is so important to keep going, to strive to leave a mark if that is your path, and to recall and embrace heroism in my personal, creative and professional life. Never have I been more bowled over by a gift, and I would never want to leave it behind; it, like the people who gave it to me, is irreplaceable.