For the longest time I mostly just looked. I surveyed the outgrown, the underused, the inherited, the once-wanted unwanted things. It was summer and the plastic, glass, and ceramic baked on white sheets in the afternoon heat. What I picked up was often hot to the touch.
It sometimes took weeks, sometimes longer, to settle on an object and then to find it again. The settling was easy. I found things beautiful. I got a particular type of loneliness just by looking at certain things, and of course that’s how I knew. After about a dozen or so stops I’m sure you could start to see it too: a kind of brightness of an item that’s losing its luster, not just where you were, but all over. Not to me, like I said, but to others.
I’m not immune to this process entirely. I once bought back a copy of a book I had written at fifty cents on the dollar. It was inscribed: “To Andy. Love, Julia.” The funny thing is I’m about to marry an Andy, a different one. I thought for a second the used copy was his. It couldn’t be, though. His copy never left our library.
Among other things, this project proposes a rubric of value based on search speed. I heard you can find fifty-four Emerson Jumbo Universal remotes in 0.34 seconds. It took me seventy-one days to find my second Emerson Jumbo Universal remote, buried in a gray bin in a garage in Kingston, NY. When I grabbed it out of the pile I was flooded with feeling. Now you tell me that remote isn’t one of the most valuable things I own.
This is a collection of duplicate items I gathered piece by piece. This is a collection of multiples assembled without using the Internet.