Sunday, April 17, 2011
I finally got around to moving my books from my parents' house to my new apartment this weekend. This is always a daunting task; books are heavy and bulky and it's difficult to choose which ones to keep and which ones can be left behind. I decided to only take the ones that were important. Which turned out to be most of them.
One of the upsides of having moved so many times is that I've had to trim my possessions over and over again so the books I've been shlepping around for years on end now to a variety of apartments compose a pretty invaluable collection. I wonder if I will amass many more now that I have turned over to the dark side of electronic books. As I organized my books I had the sense that I'd forgotten some, where was my copy of Lulu in Marakesh for instance or the third volume in my friend Lucy Silag's series? I realized suddenly that they were absent because I'd read them on my Kindle so they were conveniently stored there instead: weightlessly, soullessly filed away on the little device. No one will ever see them on my bookshelf and ask about them. I love looking at someone's bookshelf, this view into who they are alone (or who they'd like you to think they are alone); asking to look through someone's Kindle would just seem creepy.
As I lined up my Truman Capotes, I noticed something sticking out of my paperback copy of Other Voices, Other Rooms. It was a blurry polaroid taken outside of Bowery Bar, one of my old haunts in New York: one anachronism tucked inside another. I've never owned a Polaroid camera so I know I didn't take this picture, and I wish I could remember the story of how it got there. I put the photo back in the book and placed it on the shelf feeling a twinge of sadness.
I miss the old days; even the ones I can't quite remember. Maybe I miss those most of all.