If you’re like me, you know that it’s very easy to lose things. Nothing to it. Just put your whatsit down, leave it in the same place for two days, and it’s invisible. You may want it. You may need it. You may be looking directly at it. Doesn’t matter. You aren’t going to SEE it.
This works especially well if you put the whatsit among similar whatsits. If you’re searching really hard, they take turns sidling behind each other to hide. (This is similar to the way computer cables spend the long dull hours in the middle of the night by knotting themselves around each other.) And in our house, the most numerous whatsits are books. We have hundreds of books. Maybe thousands. I’m not sure. They’re everywhere, piled on shelves and all the other Flat Surfaces.
(I know, I know. I should get a Kindle or a Nook or some sort of e-reader. Might do it, haven’t done it yet, and it wouldn’t solve the problem, because a lot of the books we have are out of print and not available electronically.)
Lots of the bookshelves are in the basement. That’s not as bad as it sounds, because this house is built so strangely that the back door opens into the basement, next to the basement window that gives you a nice view of the yard. Usually it’s nice and dry. Unless we get a storm that floods the back yard and sends water oozing under the door.
Along came Hurricane Irene. It was a soggy August here in South Jersey; even though we only expected the fringe of the storm, it seemed prudent to move things upstairs. So I did.
We have a LOT of books.
Lots more books when they’re piled on the floor of various rooms than when they’re on shelves. Lots and lots of books I haven’t noticed for decades, because they’ve been invisible sitting on the shelves. And some of them are really, really awful. (Some are even too bad to inflict on the library’s book sale.)
Unfortunately, now that I’m reading through them, many of them are fairly good. Some are very good. Most of them are too good to dispose of. Some of the worst will probably stick around too, as horrible examples of How To Write Badly. Or is it How to Write Badly and Still Get Published?