Sunday, April 10, 2011

brain drain-o

I'm doing some Spring Cleaning.

The kind where you clean out the clutter. Unclog the mental drains. Let some air in.

I'm making space.

When I started the publishing journey, I told myself that when I sold a book, I would buy myself some wall-to-wall bookshelves. And they were built last week. 24 beautiful shelves. I can't put books on them until Wednesday, when the gajillion coats of paint are finally dry. But I expect that finally having a home for the stacks and stacks of books hovering on every child-free horizontal surface will be like pulling the clog out of a drain, letting everything else find a home or a garbage bag.

The old bookshelf is now upstairs in my closet, holding movies and hats. We're donating a big bag of movies, things we haven't watched in years. Our collection is hilarious. Who would admit to owning Dodgeball or I Was a Teenage Caveman or three copies of Total Recall?

Okay. Me, apparently.

Saying goodbye to 50 VHS cassettes hurts a little, though. I like VHS. You can't scratch or dent a cassette. They're harder to lose, harder to break. I still have the VHS cassette of The Princess Bride that I took on the tour bus for my 8th grade trip to Savannah, back when a movie took 4 years to come out on tape and cost $40. My wobbly, awkward, 13-year-old handwriting is still on it, with the phone number of the house where I grew up. And it's still watchable. I doubt I'll have a DVD in 22 years that will still be watchable.

It's hard to let go. My instinct is to hold on to things. Pretty things, memories, reminders. But our world is one in which almost anything can be found instantly online, including The Princess Bride. I used to spend 6 hours in front of MTV waiting for my favorite video. Now I can watch Thriller or Jeremy faster than I can actually type this sentence.

I worry that one day we'll live in a world that looks like an Ikea catalog, where we keep digital images of our favorite objects on cloud servers. Where we don't even have wobbly, awkward, 13-year-old handwriting to remind us of how scared we were to get on that tour bus where nobody really liked us, and yet we did it anyway. I'm all for evolving, but I always want to be able to touch things and remember.

So I'll pick and choose from what can go and what can stay. Total Recall can go.

The Princess Bride will always have a place on my shelf.


Anonymous said...

What a sweet post.

Also, Savannah was a terrible trip.

delilah, the unruly helpmeet said...

It was terrible. I spent the entire time listening to my cassette of Blood*Sugar*Sex*Magic and eating Sour Patch Kids and wishing I had friends.

My main memory is when they wouldn't let Hal on the bus after River Street because he bought that shirt of a chicken and a cat having a fight. The chicken called the cat a pussy. VERBOTEN!

delilah, the unruly helpmeet said...

I just noticed that my lamp looks like Lampy from The Brave Little Toaster. WIN!

K A B L O O E Y said...

I want to see the wall-to-wall bookshelves, being fairly obsessed with them. I've always wanted my books to "all live together" instead of in three seperate rooms, with baby stacks everywhere else in the house. I need to set a real goal and reward myself, as you did. Then again, I need to work more at my craft, like you. Congrats. And I still regret giving away my record collection, even though I hadn't had a turntable in years. SO I feel you.

stephanie constantin said...

I gotta admit, I like Dodgeball, but mainly because of the Lance Armstrong cameo :) LOVE the shelves!

Anonymous said...

KABLOOEY, they're shown in the pic. They'll look much better when I'm allowed to touch them on Wednesday and can fill them with books, especially the shelf just for signed first editions.

Mmm. Signed first editions.


Anonymous said...

You know what book you might enjoy for your signed first editions? "The Instructions" by Adam Levin. Signed copies are only about 40 bucks right now.

You'll really like it.

thatgirlblogs said...

doing the same over here, between naps.