the after photo

Last week, before I went out of town, I was looking for my new book, The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. I looked on my ToBeRead shelf–not there. I looked behind me on this long built-in shelf that theoretically holds the things I’m working on–not there. I glanced around at the various piles of books on the floor.

I knew it wouldn’t be on my regular shelves because I hadn’t read it yet. Then I remembered the shelves to my right–my reference section, so to speak. I had stuck it there.

These four shelves–one for poetry, one for short story collections I refer to as I write, one for books on craft, and one for books on writers writing about writing–were overflowing with papers stuck everywhere, books piled horizontally on the tops of other books. When I had looked for Mystery and Manners by Flannery O’Connor on my computer a while back, I had thought I didn’t have it, but here it was. So I realized that none of these books were on my computerized list of books. New project…

DSC00060Taking one shelf a day, I wiped off dust, looked through tables of contents, thumbed through my underlinings, discarded the ones I no longer needed (and by discarded I mean put in a pile to donate to the library) entered the title in my computer, and re-shelved in alphabetical order. Well, they had to go back on the shelf some way. And yes it could have been randomly or by color, but, as some of you know, I’m an alphabetical type of person. I need to just admit that and move on.

During the process I discovered Poemcrazy: freeing your life with words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. I don’t write poetry, but I love words. In this book, the author writes about how she collects words. And prints them on tickets–admit one. More about this book later.

Do you have books you’ve forgotten about? What books do you refer to when you write?