[This post was also originally written in August of 2010. Things started happening then.]
Another piece to share. British comedian Stewart Lee (brilliant stand-up,director of Jerry Springer:The Opera,interviewer,and comic book fan):“What happens to a man who compulsively collects comics,books,records and CDs? He becomes very good at building shelves…”
The whole thing is worth a read,but here,from the conclusion:
Negotiating my friend Andy’s abandonment of his lifetime of books,and my own deranged tendency to keep everything,as if to prove that I existed,I have set myself a limit to my shelf space– a generous one by the average person’s standards,but a limit nonetheless. Each month I carve out a little more length and unbox a few more treasures. It’s a slow process. But there is a finite point. And the rest must go …But philosophically I remain none the wiser than I did when I first racked my Marvel comics on the wall of my bedroom,aged eight or nine. To paraphrase Larkin:“What are shelves for? Ah,solving that question/brings the priest and the doctor/in their long coats/running over the fields.”
Stewart Lee,“My Life On A Shelf”,Guardian.co.uk,The Observer,August 1,2010
I look at my books as being sculptures of books. They’re regular books,too,but they’re also sculptures.
It has been a busy five months,and I hope to post a real post in the near future with things I’ve learned,steps I’ve taken,and other important things. But in the meantime,here are a few important links I’ve discovered over the months,mostly through Twitter.
First a few “books”and “book collection”related links:
Continue reading Long Time Gone:Some Quick Links
I hate to start a blog entry with a cliché (an action which itself seems like a cliché,or is the cliché to complain about the cliché… anyway) but sometimes it is important to stop and smell the roses. One of the many driving forces behind this massive exercise in reduction,reappraisal,and redefinition has been that there was just too…much…stuff…in my life to actually enjoy it all. More than just feeling overwhelmed by personal possessions;more than being terrified by the cumulative monetary investment;more than being worried that I wouldn’t be able to stop buying things. If the whole point in having these books,these things,was because I derived pleasure from them,than I needed to be able to find the time to have that experience. And when you have a pile of unread books,with more on the way,can you really say that you are.
Continue reading When The Pull-List Becomes A Tug-Of-War
Isn’t this what happens to all the best bloggers:you get a little publicity and suddenly,writer’s block. It happened to J.D. Salinger,it happened to Harper Lee,it happened to Stephen King,and now me:one big success and then,bam!,nothing. Well,my excuse was that over the last two weeks with most of my free time spent working on the grand culling/eBay project (more on that in a post later this weekend);I honestly don’t think that Harper Lee had an excuse that good.
But I did want to share some amazing book collection links that I’ve gathered over the recent history. Some really good “Shelf Porn”entries,the bookshelves of the rich and famous,and an example of what I always imagined my own collection to look like in my head.
Continue reading Almost Back:A Library Of Library Links
More local press on people getting rid of their collections of stuff,this one focusing on selling to make money in the hard times.
Tony Britton always thought of comic books as an investment.
“When I first started collecting as a kid,I thought long term,that maybe I could use them to send my kids to college,”he said. Britton is 32,a native of Hyde Park. He was behind on his car payments;creditors are knocking at his door. Then there is the student loan to pay,the child support. And so Britton is cashing in the remnants of his 20,000-piece comic-book collection.
Needless to say,the theme of the article is “don’t expect to get anything for your stuff you thought was valuable.”
You can read the complete article at the Chicago Tribune website.
I was on “the internet” today and I learned about something today that I always innately understood but didn’t know that someone had put a name to it:Parkinson’s Law. To quote the anonymous scholars of Wikipedia “Parkinson’s Law is the adage first articulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson as the first sentence of a humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955” It states “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” The article goes on to provide a variety of corollaries and further adages based on this Law,relating to everything from laws of supply and demand to computer science. One of these encapsulates the concept that had brought me to this page in the first pace:“Data expands to fill the space available for storage.” This is the concept,especially how it can relate to collecting and collectors,that I was trying to put into words. Day’s corollary to Parkinson’s Law:Collections expand to fill the space available to store them in.
Continue reading Day’s Corollary;or,Filling The Space Available
My Parents Shelf Porn:Raw &Naked.In the basement of their new homes,new bookshelves laid out and waiting to be filled. Photo by John Day.
I blame my parents. Sure,they thought raised me right,thought they tried to teach me the value of things,and thought they showed me wrong from right. But if your genes mean that you are predetermined to get high cholesterol or diabetes,then no matter what diet and exercise habits your parents raise you with,you will struggle with those diseases your entire life. So I look to my parents for the origins of my collecting habits. They did not push me down this path,but I see myself reflected in them. Or maybe I see them reflected in me.
My parents met and married in the small town of Painesville,OH,marrying right out of college and producing me shortly thereafter. My father studied economics and became a high school teacher. My mother studied literature and became a librarian. My father read and loved science fiction. My mother had the literature and poetry that she read for school as well as mysteries that she read for pleasure.
They raised me and my sister in post-Nixon America while struggling with a teachers salary and graduate school tuition. They did right by us,and for that I will always be thankful. I was never given everything I asked for,and I am very grateful for that. My habits of massive completeism and collectoritis were not their fault. What they did give me was a love of books and a mental image of a personal library.
Continue reading The Genetic Origins Of My Disease