Matthew Cheney explains it all

In an essay on collecting, Cheney writes:
"We collect to fill holes. I have surrounded myself with books partly for pragmatic reasons—I do read them, or at least a lot of them—but also because acquiring books allows me to give concrete form to certain aspects of my personality. When the days grow solitary, I don't need to feel lonely, because I can read the words of thousands of people. When the world becomes bewildering and life slips into shades of meaninglessness, I can rescue myself with other worlds and ideas. When I grow tired of my own words, there are always millions of somebody else's waiting within arm's reach."
I've known many collectors and I think Cheney hits it right on the head when he says "we accumulate our collections, sifting and sorting them so that should we, by some catastrophe, disappear from the Earth tomorrow, the connections between every item in the collection would be in a perfect state, harmonizing and vibrating in just the right way so as to express our personality better than we did ourselves."

In England, there is a place called Showshill Manor. The owner was a collector of epic proportions (ultimately he had to move into a shed because the house had no more room!). People visiting often wonder what type of crackpot was that obsessed with "stuff".

I wonder what the detritus of my life will say about me. I also wonder why that bothers me.

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