f course, you’d think I’d love finding a bookstore that offered old favorites I loved to read, just hundreds of them, at the low low price of nothing. Sure. Except that in this case, I’m cleaning out the dozens of boxes of old paperbacks and comics I’ve accumulated over the years.
Mission One of retirement is to clean out the garage and make room for Mission Two, cleaning out the storage unit. And that means pulling down all those boxes I’ve dragged from place to place with the expectation that someday I’d have a full spare room with dozens of shelves for all my favorite titles. Well, my own expectations have changed. Outside of a duplex I rented for about a year out on the east side, I’ve never had a spare bedroom and had no place to rank out my books. And even saying that, my current house is chock full of books (and climbing cats), the classic readers house. When people come in and see the impromptu shelves, they know.
But yes, all these boxes of stories I read while in my teens, my twenties and thirties, I’ve no room for them. Depending on the box and the location, roaches got to some of them, eating my literature and shitting all over the rest. Those are pretty much write-offs. And then there are the dated books, ones about Soviets invading America in 1995 and proud bands of patriots turning the tide. Those, I don’t think I could read without laughing. And cutesy fantasy/scifi. Then there are all the old comics, the computer magazines, the trade paperbacks. I’m just grunting my way through the boxes.
“Got any Romances?” the gay lady from down the street asked. I smiled and said no, mostly scifi. Only later I had to wonder about it. Curious.
I work through these layers of my life, forming it into three stacks. A tiny stack of things I honestly want to read a final time. And a slightly bigger stack, these being the books I think are general enough for a bookstore to accept, and not roach nibbled or shat on. And then the big stack, the one that has filled my chariot-sized recycle box to the brim, all my throw aways, books too dumb or damaged to keep.
The labor continues. The sorrow wells within me.
I feel like a Nazi stacking books for burning.