I've spent much of January clearing detritus from my filing cabinet -- yes, a physical, old school, steel legal-size monster that dominates a corner of my closet. It's painted deep red, a colour that made me love it for being the loud thing in my home office when it was out in the open, and I still feel fond of it. But I have completely lost touch with what's inside it, especially the bottom drawer.

So that's where I started. Cards, letters, photographs, newspaper clippings (remember newspapers? and clippings??), a few recipe notes, poems from my mother, pieces of my father's can see why it's taking awhile.

And this is the easy drawer. The other three are stuffed with notebooks and papers -- early drafts of abandoned poems, piled-up drafts of half-remembered dreams, notes toward nothing, thick drafts of work that flared into the world for awhile like bonfire sparks before falling back into oblivion. The bonfire is likely where a lot of this will end up.

Somewhere in one of those drawers is a yellowing page with a few lines scratched on it about what happens to great plans like the one about going through papers; it mentions a length of ribbon I'd bought years earlier with the aim of tying it around bundles of cards and letters I couldn't bring myself to throw away. Which of course, kept piling up, unbundled, till most things went digital, and even a little after.

I haven't found that page yet, though I remember writing it. What I did find was the ribbon.