A lot of people are collectors. Whatever they are interested in is brought home, looked at, and organized. This organization is key to a collection. Without it you just have an accumulation of stuff. There are people who are accumulators rather than collectors and you can tell they difference because collections are neat and accumulations are in piles; stuff lying around in stack after stack with no notion of ever finding something specific. Once it is brought home no thought goes into an accumulation.

One part of collecting that doesn’t get talked about much is “the search”. As it doesn’t necessarily have to do with collecting the search can happen on it’s own. A friend once conducted a months long search for the perfect leather bag to cart his paper and art supplies around in. It had to fit 11×17 inch paper, a change of clothes, and a beer or two. Everything was too small, too big or not the right leather. But after a few months and many lunch hours later he found it. It cost him two days pay but served him well for years. That is what a search is all about. Finding that one thing to the exclusion of all others.

A search is specific. Going out shoe shopping is not a search. The point of that is to buy shoes and you’re coming home with some no matter what. Shopping for the perfect pair of black paratrooper boots that are just the right height, weight, and fit and coming back with them or nothing is a search. Searches can take some time.

Having a search can be a very important part of collecting. Going some place to look for that one specific thing to fill in the collection is the most obvious search. You can go to a comic book convention and some guys have lists and they go through boxes of comics looking to check things off on their lists. Price and condition both have to be right. If you are searching for the prettiest copy of Human Fly #1 than the tenth prettiest copy won’t do.

A lot of searches are, of course, on the internet now. Search engines rule the world after all. If you have a favorite song or book that for years has eluded you now you can slip it into the search field at Google or Yahoo and the leads are plentiful. The search is on more than ever.

Some searches go on for years especially ones involving technology. I’ve been looking for something to display all of my newly digitized photos. I want some type of portable media player that has a screen good enough to look at photos on. Plus the operating system has to be able to handle lots of folders named and dated with when and where the photos were taken. Also I have my jpegs named with the people who are in the photos so don’t shorten my jpeg names. There is nothing out yet because the technology isn’t quite ripe. The search goes on. Maybe the rumored new horizontal screen iPods will fit the bill but who knows?

Music searches have been made much easier because of the internet. But still some songs are hard to find. I’ve been looking for The Nails: “Things You Left Behind” for a while now but to no avail. I have seen a few remix vinyl versions of it on Ebay but that is all. The search goes on.

There are certain types of dreams everybody has. We all know them. They are in all the books: the flying dream, the falling dream, the not prepared for something dream, the something is chasing you and you can’t run dream, and the naked in class dream. There is one more that doesn’t get mentioned as much. I call it the collector’s dream. I have talked to other collectors and they say they have had it to. The dream is that you are out searching for whatever you collect and you are in some small store or garage sale and suddenly you come across all sorts of treasures. All the prize stuff you are looking for is in an old box and you are thrilled. The search has born fruit. The stuff always fades away in the dream and it’s back to the search in real life. Keep those eyes open.