Revelations and lessons from cleaning a bookshelf

What do you do when you have a glorious, free day? When you’ve sent all your stories to your editors the night before? And when you have no immediate deadlines? For me, the answer was to clean my bookshelf. I’ve been meaning to clean the bookshelf in the bedroom for the past few weeks after I realized the growing number of books I kept buying and haven’t gotten around to reading yet (or what I call my ‘book debt’). They could no longer fit in the said small shelf and have taken residence on every known surface in the room. There was going to be a way to make them all fit. I was determined. It took more than an afternoon though as there were distractions, but I did discover a few things…

I love this photo by GREEN iS from Flickr (link on the photo), but I am glad that I didn't have to clean these many books

Do not watch Atonement. Or some other depressing, tragic movie. I’ve been putting off watching it because I know the story, I know how devastating the ending will be, and I know I’ll be a weeping mess. I thought, I’ll be distracted with the cleaning, that I won’t really pay attention, I won’t feel invested in the characters, and I won’t feel bad when it’s revealed that (spoilers for fellow late-Atonement viewers) Robbie and Cecilia both die and Robbie was never really able to come back to her after being wrongly accused and sent to fight in the war. And there are wet tissues and some dusty books on the floor. I’m crying and sneezing at the same time and I don’t get around to cleaning the dusty shelf until I get myself together.

Continue reading