Mattew Cheney’s blog, Mumpsimus (what the heck does that mean anyway?), points to the excellent article on collecting he wrote for Strange Horizons. It starts with a flashback to his collection of Garbage Pail Kids cards in the 80’s then moves to an area near and dear to my biblioholic heart: books. He sums up exactly what I’ve been saying:
The same impulses that governed the hours I spent seeking complete sets of various Garbage Pail Kids cards fueled the countless hours I have spent in bookstores in search of whatever treasure might lie around the next corner or on the next shelf. The anticipation and fantasy matters far more than the reality—the Holy Grail is all about the quest, not the finding, because once the Grail is found, it works its magic for a moment, then gets put on a shelf to gather dust, and a new Grail needs to take its place in the endless search.
Indeed, and illogically, it’s all about the quest. Of course, knowing the psychological reasons and ultimate fultility of collecting in no way dimishes the need, now does it? 🙂