Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Covered in Books, But Not Overwhelmed

Mid-afternoon yesterday, I began reading an anthology called Steampunk!, which involves worlds with machines made of many gears, clockwork, airships hovering about, and I know I'm not explaining it very well, but I'm still immersing myself in it and it is awe-inspiring. I want a way to have now that expansive feeling when I spent all day in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, going between Space Mountain, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, and Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, that unspoken encouragement to imagine big, dream big. I get that with this anthology, and as I resume an interest in Superman, and seek out more sci-fi books, I feel I can have it all the time.

Sara, an old, very dear friend of mine who is making great strides toward becoming a human rights lawyer at Florida State University College of Law, recommended to me To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis in a list of her favorite books when we reconnected at the start of this year. I thought nothing of it, then, but later in the year, I thought I had purchased it out of curiosity, yet let it languish just like countless other books in my room.

With this new craving for sci-fi books, and so invigorated by the stories in Steampunk!, I remembered To Say Nothing of the Dog and thought I still had it in my room. This, of course, meant pulling out stacks of books that inevitably fell. Lola of WOMEN: WE SHALL OVERCOME offered to organize my books for me, and I refused, because I have certain stacks in place, one with all Las Vegas and Florida books (the former for the future, the latter for nostalgia-at-a-glance), another of books I want to read over the next few weeks or months, and others just haphazardly organized. When you don't look at those stacks closely every day, and put back the books that have fallen out of place without thinking anything of it, there's no reason to consider organization.

I'm not overwhelmed by the sheer number of books in my room, but it is clear that once we move to Henderson, settle into our new apartment, and I get the bookshelves I was promised years ago, I am going to come up with an organizational plan. I can't do it like this anymore. For now, being that all my DVDs are now in two big, heavy-duty binders, those box shelves are empty (yes, box shelves, fashioned from the boxes we moved with, which are still whole), and once I determined what I didn't need to read right now, I shoved a lot of books into those shelves and into the bottom box shelves too. It's not a case of out of sight, out of mind, but rather getting some floor space back and maybe vacuuming it one of these days.

I couldn't find To Say Nothing of the Dog. I may actually have been remembering checking it out of the Valencia library a few months before it switched from County of Los Angeles to City of Santa Clarita control. But that craving for sci-fi books is strong, and so I found the other steampunk anthology I bought last month, as well as the Superman novels I bought, Soulless by Gail Carriger, the 600+-page The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book I have that contains all the novels, the Jules Verne book I have with all his novels, as well as many Charles Dickens novels I bought that I want to read, including Hard Times, Great Expectations, and Bleak House. The 2005 miniseries of the latter book is what turned me on to reading it. Unrelated to science fiction, but the same desire.

Cleared floor space means room for a very important stack, that of the books I'm using for my research, as well as books I'm reading for insight and inspiration, such as The Season by William Goldman, his chronicle of the 1967-68 Broadway season. It's not what I'm writing, but it's that kind of framework that Goldman employs. Plus I've ordered a few other books which are directly related to what I'm writing, and I want to see how those authors did it. I'm never intimidated by reading those who have done what I want to do; I just want to study their approach, and see what works for me.

My room looks a lot better, now that I've also cleaned up the junk that was littering my floor, such as loose papers and past issues of The New Yorker that I probably won't read now. The October 13th issue that I picked up from my floor is still folded back to the page that begins a profile of IKEA, and I intend to read that, now that it's sitting right in front of me.

Hopefully this reorganization of my book stacks is a sign that we'll be moving soon. I'd like that to be the final time of doing that here. I know I can't take all these books with me, and I don't mind that. But I would like some hint that this is getting me closer to the future I want. Can't predict what others are going to do, but I hope those others are giving thought to bringing my dad into their company so we can finally get started on really enjoying our lives, and I can seek the job I want.


  1. PLEASE let me help organize the books after you move. I'll do it just the way you want and it will be perfect because I never do anything less than perfect. Look at my kids.

  2. I'd be willing to do that. It'd be nice to have a bit of Lola around that way.

  3. After I'm gone, every time you select a book, you will think of me, and probably not even barf or cry.