I’m a hoarder. I admit it. I don’t have cupboards full of stacked margarine tubs from the ’80s, or garbage bags full of holy orphaned socks, chipped mugs or birthday cards from friends I no longer even know. I’m selective in my obsession. It’s books that I just can’t seem to part with.
Once, there was a forced cull. I can’t blame Kim, really. She was the one who schlepped most of my books to their current home – my office on the third floor –having schlepped them there from their former home, in another office, on another third floor. This earned her the right to say enough one day, when I arrived with stacks “rescued” from my brother-in-law in North Bay. (He too, has a little problem). Also, Kim built my bookcase. It was a birthday present one year. I went away for a weekend, and when I came back, she surprised me with this wall-to-wall bookcase in my office. Let me repeat: She built it, alone, in a weekend. Yes, I married wonder woman.
So Kim gets a say when things get out of hand. The first time it was painful. What if, one day, I needed all three of my copies of Twelfth Night? I’m not too sure how I ended up with three. Granted, one was my mother’s teaching copy with her cramped notes filling the margins. That’s the one I opted to keep. My point is, it was a thin play, and by my losing two copies of it, the emotional wrench equated to barely a dent in the pile still to be sorted. I managed, with Kim’s help, to get it under control. But that was years ago, and the books kept piling up.
Yesterday, I undertook another cull, in anticipation of my problem soon getting completely out of control. This time, it was my collection of magazines that got the boot. Sorry Toronto Life, but I just don’t need any of you from 2005. It actually felt good to make a little wiggle room on the shelves. But it won’t last long. I know I’m an addict. And it doesn’t help that my friends are enablers. Mel, for instance, made this for me and enclosed a gift card for York’s bookstore. David and Jen are equally to blame, giving me the superb two-volume collection Reporting WWII. Stacks are growing, beside the bed, in the living room. There are even accretions forming in the kitchen. A copy of John Keegan’s Intelligence in War was recently bespattered by pasta sauce. Oh well. Like I said, I have a little problem.