Sometimes the simplest of actions lead to some mental unspooling. When that happens, I must blog. Writing helps me to sort it out. The action in question that leads to this post is that I made some room for those three new books in my home library.
The first realization I had is that I officially ran out of space on my shelves dedicated to classic literature (i.e., not sci-fi, horror, fantasy, mystery, pulp, etc.). You’d think that if a book is labeled history, it’d go in the history section. Not in this case. Medieval histories are suspect on account of the inclusion of legendary characters such as Arthur. And many of those old books have an agenda, as one might expect when the compilers are also priests and monks trying to preserve and justify the civilization they’ve created. So, “classic literature” it is, even if a great many other history books reference back to them. That’s totally off topic, but whatever. The point is the books fit perfectly in that section, like they needed to be there, so I’m not questioning that at all. I rarely have buyer’s remorse when it comes to library building.
The second is yet another realization of how many books I own that have still gone completely unread. Some of them get picked for reference here and there, but outside of actual reference books, I acquire books for the express purpose of reading them. Honking duh, am I right? Books aren’t trophies, after all. They look great on the shelf and they do wonders for taking the edge off sonic disturbances from outside. But these are secondary. I want the knowledge. I want the perspectives and the stories. I want the voices of bygone eras speaking to me as though I am worthy to hear them. And sometimes I just want the excuse for my mind to leave my body for an hour or three.
Every reader knows about Mount TBR, the dreaded and somehow erotically (?) beckoning pile of books To Be Read. I’m absolutely terrible about sticking to anything resembling a reading list. Between TG and SPD, my mental processes are just all over the map as it is. Not excuses, just the reality I deal with. It’s why I have so many themed project blogs on this site, and it’s why I have so many books in progress right now (complete with a growing and ever-changing mini-TBR riding the coattails). Of the things I’ve learned over the years, it’s to enjoy the overwhelm, and not to beat myself up about the sheer amount of it. After all, much like with my music library, it serves me well in those lean times when I can’t afford anything more right at the moment, and I can revisit absolutely anything I like whenever the moment strikes. There are days or even weeks when I’m just an emotional spaz-monkey. I play to my strengths.
Thing is, I’m a creature of contradiction, so when I’m not being all spastic, I can drill down and dedicate with laser-like focus on just one thing. If I could do that more often, I’d have a functioning career instead of just a dead end job. That’s what I tell myself. Don’t judge me. 0.o This morning, I’m feeling the focus. Problem is, it’s three different things that I really want to focus on right now, apart from the ongoing Tolkien project that never ceases to delight me. I’ve got an audiobook going, a biography of Charlotte Brontë, which is leading into a desire to read all things Brontë. I’m discovering just how truly deep of a well that is. I’ve got an ebook in progress, another biography this time on Sarah Bernhardt, which is playing into my interest in La Belle Époque. Monet, Renoir, Mucha, Debussy, Satie, Le Chat Noir, Moulin Rouge… all the things. And now paperback renditions of Geoffrey of Monmouth and the venerable Bede are calling me back to the Middle Ages.
A mind divided cannot stand… so I sit in my library with my laptop and blog for a while.
I am my own worst enemy, and worse still, I know it. But mornings like this, when I see how much treasure I have access to, I know how fortunate I am sometimes to have that problem. Now if only I had the focus to resolve it.