Add to Basket

We are receivers. Every day, every minute, we are collecting, whether we know it or not – images, sounds, stories. Ideas. And we react to these things, because it’s human to do so, and some make a deeper impression than others. 

Drawing of little red insect

But just because we’re picking things up all the time, it doesn’t mean we have to stow them all away and keep them – it is possible just to notice some things and then allow them to leave, even if at first this sounds improbable. It requires practice. 

I don’t have any difficulty knowing which things I should keep and which to let go – but negative things stick more readily and tenaciously than positive ones. It’s how we evolved. It’s said that you need the conscious awareness of five positive things to balance out one negative one, because the negative is so much more powerfully drawn to our attention.  

Drawing of coriander

I’ve started keeping an imaginary basket that I collect things in. I choose these things, and at the end of each day I can take them out one at a time and look at them again, and feel the same sensation I had when I first encountered them…. like the red and black flying beetle that landed on the garden wall, and stayed for a few moments in the sun before flying off before I could identify it. Or like the smell of coriander when I was chopping it at lunchtime. And the children I watched one afternoon running around in the playground after their karate class while older people walked their dogs, or just stood around in the sunshine. 

Sketches of karate kids and man with dog

These are the things I can draw. There are other things that can’t be sketched, like the wood-pigeon and the blackbird that I hear when I’m sleepily awake at 6.00 am, and the taste of the melted dark chocolate sauce I made yesterday with brandy mixed in it to pour on vanilla ice cream. 

These are just a few of the things in my basket, and writing this I’ve tasted them all over again – but I realise what may be even more important is that now I’ve shared them as well. Good things are meant for sharing. 

The idea of a basket of collected memories is not my own. I wish it were, but I first heard of it from my mother, who inherited it in turn from a dear friend of my sister, so it kind of runs in the family. 

In the UK, when you shop online and choose your purchases you collect them by clicking ‘add to basket’. In the US this would be ‘add to cart’ which to me always sounds mildly hilarious because it conjures up images of a chunky wooden wheeled horse-drawn sort of a thing. In supermarkets in England we use a trolley…….or a basket. 

13 thoughts on “Add to Basket

  1. What a timely post – for me anyway – I just went through a few file drawers and got rid of some old papers. Which to keep, which to let go… Your drawings are delightful, and your sensitive writing is, too.

    Sensual pleasures – if you don’t draw or record or communicate them in some way, many disappear – but that’s OK too, it makes room for new ones. Thank you for passing some of yours along.

  2. In a public library you may wait on 100 perfectly charming people in an afternoon, but it’s the one rude tool whose memory you’ll take home with you. I should tell my staff to make baskets of the nice people to override the jerks.

  3. Just read your post as I am starting yet another workday that probably isn’t going to bring me much satisfaction. I’ve been dwelling far too much on work negatives lately, so your words of wisdom have given me cause to pause. You’re right about the basket metaphor too – so much more lovely and less industrial sounding than a cart!

    1. Sorry ignore previous incomplete reply – it’s good to hear from you! As you can imagine I wrote this because I needed it, much as you say you do – so commiserations, and glad it was appropriate for you too!

  4. I love the idea of a basket of memories. It’s not the first time I e come across it, but it is the first time I’ve heard it so eloquently expressed. Also your sketches are beautiful and fluid.

  5. Oh! I’ve been away from reading and writing online for awhile…This was a lovely post to come discover, and very much the same theme that’s been on my mind lately, far away. Maybe it carried to me from you on some trade wind that only gathers images and thought-filled words. Your words and pictures overflow my basket. Well said! Hope all is well with you.

    1. Good to hear from you! Maybe it came to you on just such a wind; maybe because I now consciously give the contents of my basket at the end of the day and release them, hoping they’ll be wafted in the right direction. So this is proof that such trade winds exist! Thank you – the thought of you receiving my small offerings into your bad kettle is wonderful!
      I hope all is well with you, too? I’ve been too busy, too tired, rattled and
      dried up and exhausted, but I’m starting to recover. The basket has been a real help.

    2. Oh! Oh! I just Re-read my reply and saw what predictive text had turned ‘your basket’……into ‘bad kettle’ – was going to jump into WordPress and laboriously correct it and then thought why not share the joke. Only please, please, do not collect anything in a bad kettle (unless there’s a good reason!)

  6. oh my gosh! Now I think we have to create a joint work titled “Bad Kettle” ! Good to hear from you, and glad to know that you too are traveling on the trade wind from too rattled to …hmmm, what would be the opposite of rattled…unrattled? That’s not quite right 🙂

    1. Every time I think of a Bad Kettle, and the idea of you having one, I think it’s so funny. I keep wondering what a bad kettle is – a beautiful rusty old thing full of holes? Or something more horrid with a lid on that has to be kept shut to keep unpleasant things from escaping? (Things that rattle, perhaps?) Or simply a kettle that doesn’t work any longer and is just useful for keeping things in?
      I love the thought of doing a joint work. 😊

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