Sunday, 22 September 2013


After spending weeks plugging my work on this blog, I changed plans. The idea was to publish again immediately after I stopped doing the weekly plugs.
   But I felt I wasn't reading enough. And I wanted to leave more time after writing stuff, too. I like to shove the story away somewhere and return to it.
   Was I reading enough? My plan was to read at least a book a week in 2013. As I type this, I've read more than a book a week. Dozens of books read. How did I do, clearing shelves?
   I didn't do well at all.
   Turn to the right. There's a bookcase with three shelves on it. I'd already finished one shelf as the year started. The bottom shelf had three unread books on it. Those, I finished.
   The middle shelf gained and lost titles as books came into the house. Some new volumes just won't fit, and have to be shuffled around.
   How is that middle shelf doing now? There are seven unread volumes on there. An increase. Let's get technical. I cleared one shelf this year, even though I read more than a book a week.
   Why does that feel like defeat?
   At my current rate, I should clear three whole shelves in a year. I cleared one - and only had to read three books on that shelf to do so. Easy.
   I stare forward and right to another bookcase. The top shelf is almost untouched. I whittled the middle shelf down to five weighty tomes. After a bout of reorganisation, the lower shelf gained unread titles. Now down to three.
   Back, way back, in the corner. Right. I've filled the empty half-shelf. Over in the office, I've pretty much filled that odd empty shelf at the bottom of a rack. Not quite a bookcase.
   Why leave the bottom shelf empty for so long? Weigh the thing down from the bottom! Ach. Things just worked out that way. I am running out of space again. Soon, I'll reorganise. Somehow.
   What changed? Anything? Yes. Recently I decided to put that well-worn chant into effect. You know the one. No more books. For now. I know I must clear shelves before I can go on.
   Saturation-point. How many times have I reached that? Surpassed it? Many. And then comes the reorganisation. Somehow, that always worked in the past. Build up the way. Squeeze shelves in. Creak.
   Squeeze more shelves in, up the way.
   My office has a bookshelf directly in front of another bookshelf. I can't go on like that. Though I probably will.
   (Print copies of photos, and the negative rolls, lie there. Those analogue photos have all since been digitised. Had to keep the physical copies somewhere.)
   Readers need not write. They are readers. Writers, however, must read. I feel I must read more. Then I can publish again. Space solutions? Embrace the Kindle. Cast aside these lovely hardback tomes...
   I wonder what they weigh.
   Anyway. I always feel that, if I have to, I can hold back publication. That's why there's no publishing news this week. How many books will I have read by year's end? Not enough. Never enough.
   How many more shelves will I clear this year? Not one shelf, I'm guessing. I should tackle the issue systematically. But there's no fun in that. Reading must be enjoyable.
   When I say clear shelves, I mean clear shelves of unread books. The shelves stay stacked. Part-problem, part-delight.

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