Daragh says I can’t hang things in my office because the walls are too thin. I haven't hung a picture in 15 years. Well, I would periodically blu-tack pictures to mirrors and walls. But the thing would inevitably fall, leaving a stain, a marker of futility, the impossibility of making home as a student's wife and then a scholar, an occupant and leaver of too many abodes, an erstwhile addressee for two decades.
Still, I have managed to amass a small collection of prints and photos, gifted or sought, a disorderly pile at the bottom of a filing cabinet drawer; impedimenta for a wayward existence. Leafing through them invokes a conversation with my past self: Why did I like this? What is this person, no longer a friend, doing these days? And when I want to keep something pretty and useless, I ask my future self: Will I care about this in your time?
I’d like to frame some of these things. As Durga Chew-Bose wrote in an essay for the New York Times, “Some of us are born a little mournful, and we spend our lives discovering new traditions for housing those ghosts we’ve long considered companions. Framing, I’d venture, is central to this urge. It gives memories a physique.” Things without frames, when left untended for too long, flail; time starts to feel too loose, untidy. When my things are finally framed and arranged, I imagine them punctuating these walls with personal meaning, mooring me finally to this place, even in this ever-fluctuating present.