I've been called a pack rat

Yes, I probably am one.  But every artifact I've kept from my travels--maps, postcards, ferry ticket stubs, chunks of marble found near an ancient temple, postcards advertising DJ Flipper at a nightclub on Mykonos--has the power to zip me off to a memory that might otherwise remain unreachable.

These days, as I try to write about Athens, Delphi, Santorini and Crete--places I can't easily get back to--those tiny feats of teleportation are essential.

Are writers more prone to rack rat syndrome than most?  Writer friends, are you addicted to hanging on to everything, documenting each moment you might someday need to recall?


  1. I'm married to a pack rat and have two pack rat children, so I don't need to be a pack rat. I'm more for letting-go.

    It's an interesting idea, that a writer might hang onto objects as a form of documentation for recall. Not so for me, but I certainly can think of a few writer friends who'd agree with you.

  2. Definitely. I tend to save every little scrap of paper, receipts from trips overseas (so I can remember names of places), photos, ticket stubs, maps, historical/tourist pamphlets (sometimes in multiple languages), anything that "might be useful one day". It all gets piled into boxes and files that often I'm asked by the spouse, "why exactly are we keeping this?" I also have a hard time letting go of books I've read. Heavens help us if there's ever a fire. *knock wood*
    I don't think you are alone in this at all.


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