Monday, August 3, 2009

Collections~Part One

Dice World

I've been a collector type person since I was a kid. I've gone through phases where I was a major packrat and had many, many, crazy cluttered collections. I've also tried to not collect things. I've gone on major purges and tried to have almost no possessions. The last time I did this I realized that I was still collecting, I was just collecting space instead of things. The mentality was exactly the same, and it was one pretty boring collection!

So I finally decided to surrender and let myself collect whatever I felt like collecting. I found that fighting my nature and trying to not collect anything was not only futile, but took a lot of energy that was better spent elsewhere. Now, I let this part of me have it's expression and I'm much more free than when I was trying to eliminate it all the time. I find it much easier and productive to guide my nature rather than to change it.

I only have two rules now: When I collect something it has to be something that I actively get pleasure from, and the collection has to be organized and out of my way.

The main things I collect these days are:


Teak Objects

Certain Kinds of Found Photos

The one question I get all the time when people come over is, What's up with the dice?

Well, here's the story...

My sister started collecting dice when we were kids and I always thought it was kind of a cool thing to collect. Years later when I was living and teaching in Seattle, I used to go thrift and junk store shopping with my friend and senior citizen T'ai-Chi student Shirley. One day I saw a nice pair of dice and decided to buy it for my sister. Well, one thing led to another and soon I had several pairs and decided to collect them myself. Before long Shirley decided to collect them too. We'd go all over Seattle looking for games with interesting dice, scouring the antique malls and such. We never wanted to spend a fortune and looking for bargains was part of the fun.

During one of the above mentioned purges of these kind of things, I decided to give up the dice collecting. I gave my whole pile to Shirley and she just picked up the ball and ran with it. When I tell the story I usually just say, She went nuts! She became "the dice lady".

Meanwhile my wife Samarra and I moved to rural Iowa for a couple of years and ended up living where we do now in Ashland, Oregon. Shirley and sold her house in Seattle and moved into a retirement center in Eugene which is where her daughter and son-in-law, Patty and Dennis, live. We were still good friends and all three of them would come down to visit us here in Ashland which is only a few hours away.

When Shirley passed away a few years ago, Patty and Dennis asked me if I wanted the dice back. My first thought was that I'd keep them for a while and then sell them. We had this nice bookcase and decided to just put all the dice in one place.

A few years have passed and I still have them. I may sell them someday but for now I like them. They're kind of cool, they take up very little space, and they're organized and out of my way. I do occasionally add a pair or two to the collection, but I've long stopped actually looking for dice. If they're cool and cheap, I'll pick them up and throw them on the pile!

I've got several thousand now. I have pioneer dice made of stone, metal dice, Vegas dice, bakelite dice, dice with my name on them, wooden dice, dice puzzles, dice games, dice for specific games, art dice, crooked dice, and many more.

As you can see though, from the pictures, the whole thing is pretty concise and easy to take in. Another example of an "unforced" portion of my life and nature...


  1. Gene,
    What do you do for a living ?

  2. @Anonymous, I teach T'ai-Chi and I'm a singer/songwriter. If you check out the home page of this blog or go to my site, there's plenty more info on both of these pre-occuptions of mine. GB

  3. Wow! You have a great life !