THE GOODBYE PROJECT: Letting Go is Good, Yo! Episode 2–Poetic Justice

About The Goodbye Project:

There are so many of us who can’t part with objects because of the sentimental attachment we have to them. You know—the graduation tassels, the barfed-on stuffed animal with the missing eye, the coat your late father bought for you because you begged. So what do you do when it’s time to let go of these beloved items because it’s absolutely necessary?

I’d read someplace that one of the best ways to let go of an object is to know that you have a photo. Sure, you can photograph it before you get rid of it. The Goodbye Project takes the idea a step further: go back and find photos of yourself actually with, using, or wearing that object, and blurb a bit about the memories it invokes.

Why? Everything has a story.

And because of that, the object deserves more than just a hasty trip to the Goodwill or the trash without a second thought.


Poetic Justice, 1994. From left, clockwise: Joe, drums; Julio, sax; Bob, lead singer; Jeff, bass; Hank, guitar; me: keyboard and ornament.

I came back to Connecticut from URI in 1993 an emotional wreck. I had a broken heart, I missed my friends, and I had no idea what I was going to do for work. The work part—well, that sorted itself out in short order. But the other two conditions weren’t as easy to fix, and I knew I had to get creative.

I auditioned for a local band that was looking for a keyboard player, and before long I was spending every Friday night in rehearsal. Not only did I suddenly have all new friends, my social calendar filled up—soon we were playing two and sometimes three gigs every single weekend.

It turned out to be the Balm in Gileadfor which I’d been searching. The band let me go in 1995—which was totally fine with me, I was already getting into other things like community theatre and losing interest anyway—but I’ll never forget how much joy that experience brought into my life. I kept many of the objects associated with it, among them Joe’s chewed up drumsticks, my microphone (which had belonged to my parents, dated back to the late 1970s and was seriously bashed up), my music stand. Over the years, I’ve parted with all of it.

Or I thought I had.

I was going through a tub of miscellaneous keepsakes and I found my filthy file box full of index cards.

The cards were the most important thing other than my instrument: they were, essentially, my sheet music. On them, I wrote all the chords for each song and sometimes other notes, like if I had to sing harmony and when, or lyrics. When the guys put together a set list for a particular gig, I’d just pull the cards out of the box and put them in the appropriate order. Then I could set them on the keyboard or music stand and flip them over as we went.

I was torn about tossing out this box. But then I realized I have a stack of photos and a nice scrapbook, as well as some video and audio tapes—none of which I have any intention of ditching. So I decided that, in the interest of space, I should go through and just pull out the index cards for the songs I loved to play the most, or the ones to which special memories are attached.

Here’s a list of song cards I decided to keep:

“Jackie Wilson Said”—Van Morrison

“December”—Collective Soul

“All That She Wants”—Ace of Base

“Wonderful Tonight”—Eric Clapton

“Everything I Do”—Bryan Adams

“Hotel California”—The Eagles

“Tears in Heaven”—Eric Clapton

“Brown-Eyed Girl”—Van Morrison

“Wild Nights”—John Mellencamp

After that, it wasn’t that hard to throw the box—and the remaining cards—in the trash.

My only regret is that I didn’t have any cards for a couple of the songs on which I played  cowbell.

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of both the New England Horror Writers and the Horror Writers Association. Follow her adventures at

Posted on May 11, 2011, in The Goodbye Project and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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