My first collection was just a collection of objects I liked: some cool pencils, some keychains…

I had a friend (who I’m still friends with) who went through a phase of collecting objects that she swore up and down were related by being mutually “jelly.” Critically, she was unable to define what made an object “jelly” — was it a particular color? a translucence? a shimmer or glitteriness? was it a tactile quality? a scent? I was never able to work it out. Even though she showed me many collected objects, and they did seem to have some kind of aesthetic relationship, I could not reliably pick up an object in her room and say “this one is jelly” or “this one is not jelly.”

It was interesting, because she’d try to use the “jelly” collection like a mood board, as a way to explain what she might like to receive as gifts, or how she was developing her personal style, but I’m not sure anybody but her was able to see what made it non-random. Essentially it was a collection of “unrelated things I like,” but a specialty subgroup something along the lines of “things that evoke in me a singular and personal feeling of sacredness,” which couldn’t be transferred to another observer. It was like the adult conversation “this person is beautiful but not sexy, and this person isn’t very beautiful but is terribly sexy and if you don’t agree I don’t know what to tell you.”

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