Thursday

We are outlived by our things

Imagine a world where the ephemera of a life is stored on a phone. Where tickets are bought and sold, receipts issued, and notes made. Where your phone becomes the hold-all of your casual jottings, shopping memos, greetings, photos, to-do lists, memos to self, billet-doux and doodles. There are the to-ings and fro-ings which made up your day.


Where is your history then? Where are the records of a life? When the phone is discarded, or the rules of access change? Where data is withheld or destroyed when a payment is missed?


Where do you go to find the shadows of a life? The ephemera that told a story? And how do those who come after us tie objects to a place and time without the written record that explains them?


We each need to hold on to ephemera: to collect ourselves, to let others know, through these things we collate and amass; to leave behind, touchable, real snatches of ourselves, to say, we were here.

Then we each need a place for privacy. In quiet moments we should formulate, think, dwell, and muse; judge and weigh our thoughts. Moments of sorrow, healing, loss, grief, love, spiritual journeying can be made public later, but not now, not for an audience hungry for spectacle and performance played to a pre-set narrative.


Our thoughts should be ours. We each need to own ourselves; to preserve what makes our lives. To live away from the digital world and know ourselves outside a digital crowd: we need an antidote to an intangible world conjured by Facebook, Twitter, and the digitised swirl of social media.


We are humans. We need to collect. Impulsively we want objects with real things touching our fingertips. We need a place for collecting the tiniest things. To make a frame which confers on our unique collations a new context and strange beauty. A place which speaks to others, when we are gone: here was purpose, value, and a beautiful flowering of wonder.

Here is an antidote to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the digital world.


Copy as sent to Woman's Hour BBC Radio 4, plus book, based about the theme of fond remembrance, possibly sent in response to an interviewer/ee saying something along the lines of 'is there an app for that?'

We women are tradition bearers, life breathers, culture handlers, mother speakers. We are beyond apps.

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