A Ramble About Shelves

When Monday morning is a relief, you know your weekend was borked.

It wasn’t all bad. I did, for example, get three bookcases put together. Now I have a whole reference bookcase, instead of my reference books scattered all over the house in uneven lumps. A book collection is like oatmeal–you want some clumps, but easy ones. Anyway, my Tanith Lee collection is sharing a much bigger case with my Latin books now, and my working metaphysical library has been taken from my altar and placed in my bedroom. Now I have to organize it instead of finding the book I want by a type of intuitive leap. *snort* Ah, maybe I should leave the metaphysical ones jumbled to keep my intuition sharp.

I was amazed to find out just how much poetry I have, too. I should set aside a shelf for that. It’s odd, because there aren’t many poets I truly like. Blake, Shelley, Keats, all right, some Byron when I can forget what he was like in real life. Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Dowson–of course, and I shelve them together because I’m That Way. Sexton, Plath, Auden, most e.e. cummings, Marge Piercy, some (not all) Kerouac; then there’s the shelf with Yehuda Amichai, Neruda, Yeats, and Dylan Thomas. The Beat Reader, for some reason, goes there instead of with Kerouac. Plus, Mira and Rumi go together, but with a reasonable, respectful distance between their physical selves. Some other poets–Sappho, Propertius, Ovid–go with Greek and Latin books instead of in poetry per se. Just like I shelve Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther books with the WWII history books. Still, there is one Ovid and one Sappho that go with the poetry just because the translations are so beautiful.

My bookshelves are organized, it just might not look that way to the innocent bystander. I can generally find any book I own in seconds, unless (this is a big thing) someone else who lives here has moved it. I HATE that, because I can’t rest until I find a particular book, if I’m wanting to loan it to someone or just cross-check something in it. I don’t mind people reading the damn books, that’s what they’re for, but I DO like them being put back where you found them. Otherwise I get all messed up. Some people who have lived with me have even hid books from me just to make me crazy.

I always hated that.

Anyway. My weekend was long, complex, draining, but also productive. I put all my Nabokov in my bedroom (a dangerous place, I know) and it’s sharing a small bookshelf with my French and (very small) Russian Revolution collections. This amuses me every time I pass it, though it probably would not amuse him.

Of course, the dust is still settling and small leftover bits are still being sorted into their proper places. But the bulk of the work is done, all that needs to happen now is tiny little shifts in adjustment. A book collection (I hesitate to use the word library in connection with my crowd of well-loved, dusty, ill-behaved and eclectic books, both “working” and leisurely) is like a creative brain. There’s enough order to make things reasonable, and a little disorder to open the door to magic.

So now that I’ve completely bored you talking about my bookshelves, off I go to the rest of my day. I have a little slice of time where I can work only on writing the things I want to write, and there’s a certain self-hating, murderous fae who would like some of my attention.

See you in a bit, dear Reader…

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