Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I promised my husband Bob that I’d finally clean my office. Normally, I would consider his distinctly unkind comments about my overflowing bookshelves and cluttered floor space as nobody’s business but my own. However, since he’s set up a card table in one corner of my library/office (I have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves completely covering three of my walls), I had to agree that perhaps he had a point, especially after the last – but unfortunately not the first – time he tripped while attempting to navigate a safe path to his working area.

When Bob suggested moving from the San Francisco Bay Area some years ago, I threatened not to budge from our native California unless he promised to hire someone to build the above mentioned bookshelves so I could finally have the library of my dreams. (Hey, I’m not above using a little friendly intimidation if that’s what it takes). When the friendly, but slightly bemused carpenter, completed the job, I looked around at the mostly vacant shelves and sheepishly admitted that maybe I’d gotten a little carried away. “I’ll never be able to fill all these empty spaces,” I groaned. (Mind you, this had not been an inexpensive undertaking!) Bob didn’t reply, but just gave me a strangely enigmatic look that expressed better than words that he wasn’t about to underestimate my penchant for collecting books. Sure enough, ten years later I had filled every square inch of available shelf space, and books had begun to spill over onto the floor.

Now that I’d promised Bob to box up some of the books, though, I found myself eager to finally achieve a nice, neat office – you know, the kind you see featured in home-design magazines? Determinedly, I bent to my task. Yet after several hours of packing books into boxes – only to take them out again minutes later – I sat back off my sore knees and re-considered the situation. Performing a desultory count, I was dismayed to find only a dozen books had made it into the box and managed to remain there. Sadly, the path to Bob’s card table/desk remained as precarious as ever. I had never considered myself overly sentimental, yet I was finding it really hard to part with my old and treasured friends.

I’d like to say that in the end practicality triumphed over sentimentality, but it wouldn’t be true. Oh, I boxed up a bunch of books, all right. But if Bob ever takes a notion to explore the back area of our attic, he’s going to receive one very big surprise: six crammed boxes of books stored behind a collection of Christmas wrapping paper and ribbon.

I figure that if I can manage to survive the next few years without feeling a compulsion to dig out one of my old friends, I’ll finally be ready to haul them on over to the Goodwill.


Blogger robynl said...

Aloha from AuthorIsland.com. I'm here to check out your web site.

July 14, 2008 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Shirley Tallman said...

Aloha Robyn,

So glad you took the time to visit my website. Don't forget to enter my monthly contest, and check out the new Character Gallery and Penny Pincher features.

Come back soon now, you hear?


July 16, 2008 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger RubyD said...

Aloha from AuthorIsland.com. I know what you mean about the books. My bookshelves are full, too. I have decided to box up the just read ones for a year and rotate them. Hope that works. Of course, the really, really favorites must stay on the shelves in plain sight *g*.

July 31, 2008 at 9:28 AM  

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