I have a good friend who is a world-class recycle artist and repurposer of discarded things. It seems like whenever I need something, such as a tool, solvent or curtain fabric, all I have to do is ask her and she finds it in a garbage can or dumpster in her neighborhood. Or she already had found it months or years ago and squirreled the item away in her basement.
From time to time, she shares a story with me of an extraordinary find. I think she has the makings of a great short nonfiction book about the thrill and usefulness of finding discarded things and putting them back in circulation consistent with the thing’s original purpose or something different (perhaps, better) altogether.
In recent months, she’s found unopened fortune cookies, an abandoned journal containing incredible personal writing, and a bag of semi-rare American coins (in a compost pile!). All three of these discoveries fascinated me and I integrated them into my writing workshops as writing and discussion prompts.
The other day, my friend’s discovery and her recycling/bartering of another highly unusual object, easily ranked as her best story.
She found a stainless steel sanitary napkin/tampon dispenser in the dumpster of a junior high school, took it home, took it to the metal recycling center in town, got paid $5.40 for her effort, and then used the money to buy a pound of fresh sea bass for $5.50 (with a senior discount) from the seafood market in Warrenton. In effect, it was a wash, a trade.
Trading a junior high tampon dispenser for fresh fish off Oregon’s coast.
Just typing that sentence gives me a fantastic thrill as a storyteller. I’m not sure where else to go with it. Perhaps the sentence is enough to excite readers and inspire interesting thoughts and actions.
Yes, the sentence is more than enough.
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