Confessions of a Book Hoarder

Help! I’m being crushed by all the hardcovers, trade paperbacks and over-sized soft covers in my house! Maybe not literally, perhaps emotionally. . . and what is that strange pain in my back anyway? Could be from lifting, hefting and shifting my mountainous collection of books from one room to the next. Are these things rabbits? How have they multiplied beyond belief? And the better question is why can’t I part with any of them?

I’m a book hoarder. If anyone has ever seen an episode of Hoarders then this needs no explanation.

Hoarders

Definition of a hoarder: a person who accumulates things and hides them for future use.

Only, these things are books, and I am running out of places to hide them. In fact, I’m not hiding them very well! Linen closets, under the beds — including the guest bedroom — under my desk, next to my bed, covering the floor in the library, books stacked three deep and squashed in every which way on the bookshelves. Yup, all the signs are there.  I’m a hoarder and I can’t seem to help it either. I like my books.

Books

They are comforting, much like macaroni and cheese, or lasagna, or chocolate pudding is. . . which in retrospect, I like all those things too. Of course I don’t hide food, not yet anyway. I don’t think I have gone that far, thank goodness. But, seriously my desire to read strongly outweighs any capability on my part to actually get to all these books. When I was fifteen I could stay up all night reading. No matter how many times my father came into my room and said, “Lights out! Get to sleep!” I would always turn the light back on and continue where I left off.  Unfortunately, now that I’m grown-up and can’t keep up with a simple magazine let alone War and Peace, books don’t get consumed with as much ease as they used to.

Every summer I say to myself: this is my reading summer. I’m going to read every book Agatha Christie ever wrote. But alas, it never happens. Now summer is nearly over, the kids are in school, the pool is about to close for the season and I have not dented The Tower of books. And yet, I add more and more to the pile.

In Summer at reading, 1959

It must be a disease. Well, I guess as diseases go, it’s okay with me. One day, perhaps in a thousand years, I will have read most of the books in my home. But, till then I will just keep adding more and more to the heap.

When authors quit writing fascinating books that I just have to add to my collection, maybe my obsession will be over. But, as Wise King Solomon said, “To the making of many books there is no end.”

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THE ALTERED I: Book Release Update

A typical model rocket during launch

Let’s launch this baby!

This has been a long time coming I know, but I would like to send a big, huge thanks to everyone who pre-ordered THE ALTERED I, said they loved the excerpt, purchased extra copies for friends and family, and wanted to know when this book is going to be released. I have good news!

I have been told that the publisher is thinking of a November 2013 release. Well, actually what happened is I was asked, “What do you think of a November release?” My reply? “Any month is good! November is great! Let’s go!” So, although I don’t have an official date…this really is that hard, I have a rather loose idea.

My mind has been absolutely stuffed with book launch event planning ideas. From the venue to the  food and beverages to be served, and a whole lot of other things to keep everyone entertained (videos, posters, other books on the subject of the Holocaust, etc.) Least of all — what am I going to wear?! Will there be a presentation? A question and answer session? An excerpt reading? The sound of the cork of a very expensive bottle of champagne popping? Yes, yes, yes, and yes! I’m working out the details and I hope I don’t forget a thing.

This is going to be great, so stay tuned for an actual date! I’m excited and hope you are too.

If you haven’t done so already and are so inclined here is the pre-order link for THE ALTERED I

. Get it while it’s discounted!

What I learned About Editing While Moving Furniture

One of my favorite lines from Alice in Wonderland is when the Mad Hatter asks Alice one of his nonsensical riddles: “How is a raven like a writing desk?”  Of course there is no answer. The Mad Hatter has no idea how a raven is like a writing desk, as I’m sure some of you may be

English: Screenshot of The Mad Hatter from the...

scratching your heads wondering how is moving furniture like editing?

Last week I desperately needed a new configuration of my furniture in the family room. For years the television was in the wrong place, sticking out into the middle of the room like a big sore thumb. In order to get our furniture to fit properly certain pieces absolutely had to go a certain way. Well, all that has changed since we realized we now need new stuff. Out with the old! In with the new! I had it all firmly in mind how I wanted the room to look. Even friends and trusted advisers recommended moving the television to the far wall and getting smaller pieces of furniture in addition to removing items that just didn’t fit. Long story short, we purchased two nice, smallish recliner’s got the TV situated on the opposite end and moved in a smaller sofa. However, it just didn’t fit! It wasn’t what I wanted. I had it so perfectly in mind and yet, placed in the way I thought it should work it still didn’t work! I was aggravated. After moving the furnishings around yet again, ridding the room of things that only cluttered up the tables (rule: three items to a table) things started coming together. This process actually took two or three days, but the end result is charming, and we are satisfied — for now.

Then it occurred to me that rearranging furniture in a room is just like editing. I will get an idea in my head how I think a certain thing will look on paper, and it seems like the best story, best blog, you-fill-in-the-blank-thing, ever! But, after reading it I can clearly see it has no life, no spark, it’s nonsensical! It just doesn’t work. After a night in restless sleep I will come back to it, move this word here, that word there, and this paragraph right out. After a nice brisk walk I will yet again re-visit the “work” and see a different pattern, or re-arrangement of words that suits quite nicely. I might bring in a trusted adviser editor to get their opinion. After a little while it makes sense and has the feel and rhythm I had envisioned.

Many times a writer dreads the editing process, with good reason. But,revision needn’t be revulsion when it comes to the re-write. When looked at from a different perspective, editing can be enjoyable.  Removing the clutter (unnecessary metaphors and adjectives) can give your work a fresh approach and you might find you like the end result a lot better.

How do you edit? Is it like puzzle pieces? Moving furniture? Or something else? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!