Monday, May 24, 2010

The Dirty Ugly Awful Truth

It all started where so many addictions start: Montana. Isolation, long winters and the lack of a really good mall slowly erodes the defenses of many. When I heard two women in line at Target comparing notes on whose kid was doing better in rehab, I thought it would never happen to me. Then one day a friend decided to throw a party -- not just any party, but a special party. Soon I found myself surrounded by the paraphernalia of what would become my addiction: Scrapbooking.

I know what you are thinking -- it sounds harmless, but I used to have delusions of being a punk, a bad ass, a kick-butt rowdy art chick with an attitude and maybe too much eyeliner. Here I was in Montana, wearing a cashmere twin set, at a Creative Memories scrapbooking party with some crazy dame making paper Cheerios out of two sizes of punches and acid free paper. What the hell had happened to my life? This, I told myself, is seriously stupid. Then the Creative Memories pusher, er, consultant, showed me how to crop my pictures. With one quick whack of the Personal Paper Trimmer, my pictures looked somehow BETTER. My life changed. Why hadn't I thought of this before? My seriously crappy photography was vastly improved. The consultant leaned over and said: "Not only does it improve your photos, you can cut anybody you don't like out of the picture." Holy crap! It was like she'd read my mind and met my family! I purchased a few things that day, just to be polite, but pretty soon it started to snowball as things often do in Montana.

I found myself in need of more product. I had the Creative Memories consultant on speed dial. In no time at all I had bought so much stuff, I was awarded the free paper-shaper and was now a member of the Memory Keepers Club. Then, out-of-the-blue, the Creative Memories consultant announced she was leaving town, moving to another state entirely. Before I flew into a panic trying to figure-out where I could score another tape-runner, she told me that "they" were having a big get together for "National Scrapbook Day" at the local junior high school and I was invited. There I could meet-up with obsessed scrapers, like myself, and find a new consultant.

I sat in the parking lot that May day watching the throngs scrapbookers file into the school with their wheeled scrapbooking carts full of stuff. I made a note to myself: I need one of those, maybe two. The whole experience was more intoxicating than the heady vapors of an opium den (O.K., so I have never actually been to an opium den, but it could happen.). I was completely acid-free and tripping.

There was a big problem: How could I break it to my loved ones that I was engaged in something so hopelessly dorky? Always the rebel without a clue, the black sheep of the family, how the hell was I going to explain this new obsession to my peeps? I didn't even have any children to rationalize my lapse into "Mommycraft". Still, I thought I could quit at any time. Scrapbooking was just something to fill the hours of my day. Once the novelty wore off, I would move on.

Then morning I was watching T.V. and QVC was featuring a Xyron stickermaker for sale. I scoffed at the foolishness of this product and told my husband that if I EVER purchased anything so foolish for scrapbooking he must intervene. Soon I owned Xyrons in three sizes, of which I needed EVERY SINGLE ONE. It makes magnets, stickers AND laminates. The thing is a damned miracle machine. Still, I was ashamed. What happened to the girl who adored Siouxsie and the Banshees and read Samuel Beckett? She was cutting, gluing, pasting, archiving and couldn't stop.

Oh, I would document ANYTHING. My husband nearly lost all patience when I hopped out of the car after a tire blow-out on a bridge near Savannah to take pictures of what the mechanic referred to as a "catastrophic tire failure". I progressed from disposable cameras, to a film camera, to a digital camera. Going digital was amazing. Holy shit! The first digital picture I took was of a Blondie display in a Marc Jacobs window in Savannah. Why had I waited so long? This thing was 'dah bomb. Then I caught curious spectres in the basement of the notoriously haunted "Moon River Brewing Company". Digital was a damn miracle. You bet your ass I scrapbooked those spectres.
As if middle-age wasn't enough to kill somebody's street cred, scrapbooking was truly dorky enough to totally polish off any illusions I ever had of being the least bit cool. Somehow, I didn't care. Scrapbooking it seems IS my bliss.

So there you go. I used to be a punk and now I am a dork. A scrapbooking dork. Occasionally there is something so fabulous, I just have to document it -- like the bras above blowing in the breeze in Ybor City. Not everyone is meant to be deep. Some of us are shallow. Some of us are dorks. I suspect my loved ones knew this all the time.

Bottom line: Some of us scrapbook and it's O.K.


  1. Of course it's okay. I don't do it myself but I have other vices that are similar. It could be worse, even though my husband doesn't think so. LOL

  2. Holy crap woman. Get a grip. I refuse to get involved in that scene. My sister-in-law has overtaken an entire room in her house with scrapbook paraphernalia. She goes to weekend long retreats to cabins where they scrapbook 24 hours straight. It is insanity! I am becoming a blogging junkie though, so I guess I cant be too judgmental.

  3. COngrats on finding, admitting your inner dork-ness. I think it's super great!

    P.S. I put a link on my blog to your site for having such a fab comment on my brown hair post!

    P.P.S. I am having a dance party to myself with your background music right now!

  4. Lori: I HAVE a room. A big room. A SPECIAL room. In fact, the biggest room in the house. It's packed with paper, scissors, glue, two work tables and mountains of paper. Only health restrictions prevent me from participating in 24-hour scrapbook marathons. It's too late for me. I've been at this ten years. Save yourself.

    Reindeergal: My husband only encourages me, or should I say ENABLES me. I have scrapbooked everything from members of the French Foreign Legion to the weird thingie on Bulldog's head that had to be removed.

    Mrs. Dixon: I am honored.