Wednesday, September 30, 2009

“We are double-edged blades"...

..."and every time we whet our virtue the return stroke straps our vice.”
I started this blog in an attempt to rid myself of the vice of consumerism. To get free from the stuff with which I have fooled myself into owning, I am trying to cultivate the virtues of thrift, preservation, and simplicity. This is going to be harder than I thought.

Well, here's how deeply steeped I am in consumerism:

First, let me say I am excited and delighted to start this journey. I am heartened by the idea of a blog to keep me motivated, and decided that in order to do this the way I would like, I should re-read Walden for the fourth time--to keep my head in this game.

Why then, when beginning a journey to kick this plague of consumerism, did I decide that the best way to start was to purchase a NEW copy of a book I already OWN? I admit it. I am a bibliophile in the surest sense of the word. I used to nearly cry tears of joy at the beginning of each semester in college, delighting over the pages and bindings, and even the smell of the books I got to purchase every few months. But it is positively ironic that I would think the best way to start simplifying is to purchase something I don't even NEED!

Today, I made a specific trip, and I found myself wandering the aisles of a well-known book seller. I found a rather simple edition of Walden and Civil Disobedience, but was unsatisfied by it. I walked to the counter and after stuttering for a moment--trying to figure out how to verbalize what it was I was shopping for-- heard myself say to the associate, "I'm looking for a prettier edition of this." As soon as the words came out, I knew they were true, and I was ashamed of them--I had seen myself, really seen myself, for an instant. And it wasn't very pretty.

Out of obligation, I stood and waited for her to direct me to the "prettier" copies of Walden. I perused the shelf; I flipped through the pages. I tried justifying the purchase to myself with reasons like, "Well, you don't want that marked up copy--you need a clean slate for a fresh perspective," and etc. But in the end, I recognized the urge for what it was, set the books down (even the prettiest pocket sized one...) and walked out of there empty-handed, chanting my new mantra--"Simplify, simplify."

The next stop was my parents home, where boxes and boxes and boxes of MY books lie in wait in their attic. (This is to say nothing of the shelves and shelves and shelves of books in my home. Did I mention I am a bibliophile...and that I have a problem with stuff?) After just 20 minutes of digging, and one minor injury involving my toe, a thumbtack and a surprisingly large amount of blood, I emerged victorious with a rather bedraggled, but much-loved edition of Walden.

So, Mr. Thoreau--in paying homage to your writing, I will not be purchasing any more of it (not that you'd see the profits anyway--or even care if you did).

Kierra--1; Consumerism--0
(Or, if you rather: Virtue--1; Vice--0)
The battle moves forth.


  1. Since F-T is not, thus far, a follower of your blog, I feel safe admitting that not an ounce of HDT has stuck with me. You and your pumpkin are inspiring me. Does consumerism win if I buy a pretty copy? Maybe I'll check the library first.

  2. I have a very pretty copy on reserve at the library, which I am off to pick up today. ;)

  3. Books are my vice too.....I can simplify every corner of my house, but when it comes to my rows and rows and rows and rows of books, no way Jose. They are all staying (for now anyways!)


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