Our post tonight is inspired by Orkney Library and their wonderful Twitter feed. The other day they posted about a book that has recently come out, entitled Museum of You by Carys Bray. They asked ‘What object would best tell your story if there was a #MuseumOfYou and why?’ (This will be the first and only time a hashtag will appear here, incidentally. Life needs more than 140 characters and certainly it needs more than a clipped slogan with a hashtag in front. #gettae.)
If there was a museum of me, and hopefully there won’t be as there are more interesting people and things in the world, I would choose one of two things. It would either be the Prestongrange brick I acquired recently at Belhaven or a library date stamp.
Let’s start with the library date stamp. I happen to possess one, an old one where the date sequence ended about two or three years ago. I love stamping things. It is one of the very best parts of working in a library. Never mind the customer service or Bookbug or anything like that, it’s stamping books that gets me going. Even after years of working in a library, I feel utterly contented stamping. It is just so final, an expression of what little authority I have with a noise and an ink impression. So, a date stamp would represent the life I have now and my love of providing information which will hopefully continue to be my job in one form or another for a long time to come.
I have written about the Prestongrange brick recently so I won’t rehash what I wrote then. I’m not really a material person. The brick is more dear to me than a lot of things. I would rather have the memories it evokes as I look at it than this computer, for example, or lots of money or a diamond watch or a Lamborghini or whatever. I don’t have a lot of money or a diamond watch or a Lamborghini, incidentally. Neither would I want any of these things. I aspire to nothing more than to be happy. That’s all I want. Luckily I live a life that gives me a lot of fulfilment. One of the four things I wanted to happen before I die happened a few months ago. (Hibs won the Scottish Cup. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it much. It was a very quiet affair. You might not have heard about it.) It isn’t perfect but nothing is.
We are all curators of our own lives now, through social media where we can craft our image to the world on our Facebook walls or through our Tweets. They are a museum of us, a series of snapshots into our lives, our thoughts when in wild ecstasy we Retweeted everything to do with an event we were at or when we just felt like saying something, even if it was that we had run out of marmalade and found a spare one under a shoe or whatever, saving the day. Museums are about the minutiae of life too, though, as much about Empowerment Pants as the Rosetta Stone. I think we need a bit of both and not so much of our own lives in our museums as we go there to try and understand and connect with others, other cultures, other worlds, other times in history. Our stories are more than a single object, just as they are more than a hashtag or a status update. They are worth all the words we can get our hands on and just a bit of time to sit and listen.