Untidy Towns

Unread Letter Days (6)


Dear Books,

I can see you from where I’m sitting; in fact, anywhere I sit in this apartment, I can see you. You’re all over the place, both mine and his and our combined libraries stashed everywhere. I used to be very particular about how I kept my books. I didn’t like to stack books in front of books, never on their side unless for dramatic effect. A mass market paperback version of The Silmarillion sideways in front of a gorgeous illustrated edition of The Hobbit, for example.

(I can’t believe I can still spell Silmarillion from memory.)

I particularly disliked messy, unorganized shelves. For a long time my books were divided by genre and then by size, tallest to shortest, so that each section was clearly divided. I mused with the idea of putting up labels as if my library were a bookstore, but decided not to because I didn’t want to have to maintain it. Or explain it.

One time I put my bunny (my old bunny, he died somewhat recently but we hadn’t spoken in quite a while because my ex got him in the breakup) on the bookshelf and took a bunch of photos of that. I don’t know why I was so fascinated with it. Bunny on a bookshelf!

Those aren’t my shelves anymore. Bunnies wouldn’t be able to find their way around. Everything in my life is a big mess right now, and I say “right now” as if I can continue to honestly use the excuse of “being in school” but the reality is that I live with a packrat and I don’t know how to handle this amount of stuff. It’s impossible to organize and keep tidy. Shit pours out of cracks as soon as you create an empty space. I’ve all but given up trying, although for a while I really cared.

The first thing I unpacked when I moved in here was probably books. When I lived by myself in Manassas I realized (too late) that books and records are what make a home. The act of freeing them from boxes and neatly deciding where they’ll live for the next few months is extremely satisfying and creates an emotional bond between yourself and the room. When I lived with my parents I reorganized my room at least once a year. I’m not sure if books were a huge part of that equation but I miss that. Now that I’ve been here for a little over two years, and we’ve only reorganized once, I’m dying for the chance to move my books around. I want to buy new shelves. I want to feel the peace that comes with mindfully placing books in a certain order.

xo M

PS: Books, I miss you. I know that technically textbooks are books too and I’m reading those but I can’t wait to dive into The People of Paper and Ghost Pine which are my chosen reads to begin the summer.