Free to a good home
— or a bad home –
any home but my home!
I have three sets of bookshelves, mostly full. Okay they are overflowing and I don’t have room in my room for a fourth set. A lot of the books are ones I read years ago but don’t want to get rid of – they’re like old friends. (Which wouldn’t be so bad if new friends didn’t keep coming to join them.)
One shelf holds books on writing, all of which I’m going to read someday. (Oh, don’t even pretend that you don’t have books on writing – or some other subject – that you’re going to read someday!) That set of shelves also holds my fiction collection – the “old friends” I mentioned above.
The other two sets of shelves hold books on religion and spirituality, most of which I read over 20 years ago and haven’t really looked at since. Some I have outgrown, some are about subjects that I never really got into, and some I’m not sure why I own and I rather suspect that the other books invited their friends for a sleepover and they never left.
I should also add that there is no rhyme or reason or organization to any of the shelves. (Seriously? Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols sharing space with books by Thich Nhat Hanh and Ovid’s Metamorphoses – what was I thinking? Can you imagine the results if these things interbred?)
But what to do with all the ones that I’ve outgrown? I mean, some of this stuff you can’t just drop at St. Vincent’s, or at the library for their book sale. (I live in a small town, remember?) And I’m not one to throw away old friends, bound or not. So, I just lived with the sprawling chaos.
But then, out of nowhere, came an answer…
Wednesday night was the monthly Bartering Circle at the weekly Pagan coffee night I’ve started going to, so I packed up two boxes of books, not to trade or barter, but to give away.
Only one boxful (the smaller of the two) came home with me. It will go back next month along with some others, and this will continue until all that is left is the stuff that really matters to me.
In essence, I am editing my bookshelves, eliminating the things I don’t need, that don’t work for my story.
Once I have empty shelves I’m going to rearrange the books and attempt to impose some sort of order on them. And then all those notebooks and journals and composition books and three ring binders and paper and pens and highlighters and post it notes and index cards are going to have a place to live – a place that’s easily accessible – a place where I can see them… and probably still not use them.
(Almost every writer I know loves notebooks and journals – an office supply store is like a candy store to us and we live for the back to school sales so we can stock up on stuff we don’t use. Because almost every writer I know hates to write in their pretty new journals and notebooks – we don’t want to defile them with our less than perfect notes and thoughts and handwriting.)
And then, if there’s room (you all can stop laughing now) I’ll maybe get some craft supplies put on them too. Or at least my pen pal stuff — I mean, it’s writing-related, right?
I may be getting ahead of myself, but I have a plan… a course of action… an outline.
And someday I will write “The End” to the clutter.
And in case anyone is wondering about the title of this post, here’s a glimpse into the mind of a writer:
I was looking around for a blog topic, and I was swatting at gnats. We’re inundated with them this summer. I don’t know if I bought a plant that was infected, or if they were in some potting soil I bought or in the sphagnum peat moss, or where they came from, but they are here and they are taking over. I was thinking about ways to get rid of them and wondering if I could turn them into a blog post (everything is fair game to a writer) and I thought about comparing them to a swarm of annoying and distracting plot bunnies – but I never want to really get rid of plot bunnies. Then the “get rid of” connected with “books” and a blog post was born.)
And I still might write about plot gnats…