Day One of Weeding 2011:It seems like so much,and yet so little.
Sounds a bit like a parody of a Stephen King novel from 1983. But I took advantage of the relatively free nature of this weekend (no freelance,no visitors,no vacation,beautiful weather) to get started. To clear off the dining room table and start filling it with books to dispose of. And for something that seemed to be so simple at first,this weeding has become more and more difficult as it goes on,especially when I look back at the bookshelves and they still seem to be overflowing.
Intellectually I understand that this should be easy. I’ve made peace with getting rid of a portion of my things. I know from past experiences that I will barely miss these the items that I get rid of;I have had almost no moments of regret from the last few years of culling. I know that if worst comes to worst I can re-acquire things that leave an aching hole in my soul,and that much of the older material will possibly be re-issued in an even better format. And I know the amazing feeling that will come when I walk into a home that,while still full of books,is not aggressively drowning me in four-color art and print.
But oooooooohhhh the anxiety…
Continue reading And so it begins…The Weeding!
The wall of books inside "The Barn of Books"
I think I passed a breaking point last night. Last night I actively hated my library.
Since I decided to get back on the blogging the past week I’ve been trying to figure out what to write. I’ve stop-started several entries,trying to get back to the themes of why I buy things and why I keep them. Or to give you a new photo tour of my current library set-up (which will still come). Or how I plan to get rid of things this time.
Last night I had hoped to spend a little time packing up some Ebay items and then maybe do a little writing. Then I decided to try out this new thing that Amazon has called “Trade-Ins”where they’ll buy your items (books,games,etc) for a small price and give you credit. You get far less then selling them elsewhere,but it seemed like a nice alternative with less stress. Then book after book after book was either not available for trade-in or the price offered was less than a dollar. Suddenly even this method was turning into another dead end.
And that was when the library finally became a massive anchor and dragged my soul to the bottom of the ocean. I was never going to get rid of these books. Not the way I wanted. The way I wanted was to have the world line up outside my door and let me individually hand each person a book that would make them happy and they would thank me while handing me cover price in cash. I need to make as much of a break as possible,and as quickly as possible. When I started this in 2009 I wanted the time to say goodbye to each individual item. That time has passed. I’ve said goodbye when I packed them and unpacked them three times over the past five years. Goodbye.
So I walked away with a decision. Later this month I start the real weeding. I will weed harshly and strongly. I want to empty two to three bookshelves when this is done,maybe more. I will choose a small amount,maybe two small boxes worth,to attempt to sell through channels like Ebay in order to get something resembling a price for them. The rest will go to used bookstores that will pay me very little but take all of them. Anything that isn’t taken will be donated.
And then I’m done. Walk away. And keep any eye out on what is left so that this doesn’t happen again.
We’ll see if I can do this. I don’t 100% trust myself but I know in my heart I’ll feel better.
So,ever wonder what an entire apartment of books looks like when it has been taken off the shelf and placed in at least 120 boxes?
I stopped counting at 90 boxes...
Continue reading Here We Go Again:The More Things Change…
In the words of Jon Bongiovi:“Oh,oh. We’re half way there. Oh,oh. Living on a prayer.”They were wise words in the 1980s and they are just as wise today. I started this blog back in February to track my journey of examination and elimination. Now,four months later this blog has seen some more reflection,some bellybutton gazing,some sharing my home with visitors from Comic Book Resources,and lots and lots of photos of books and bookshelves.
The last month has seen fewer blog entries as I have been working over time on the process of actually getting rid of these belongings that I’ve been examining for so long. I first mentioned the great Weed back in earlky March (see “Weeding Round One“) and even after making the decision to get rid of these items,and pulling all those books and comics,I still had to do something with them. So it has been evenings full of photographing and organizing and grouping and describing and listing on Ebay. At first it was incredibly daunting,but luckily I found a piece of software that made my life a little easier. But now I’ve got new auctions going up five nights a week,with anywhere between 60 and 100 listings up at any given time. It’s taking up a lot of my free time in the immediate,but hope to be through the busy period within the next month and have that much more of my life back.
Continue reading Memorial Day Process Report
Time to toot my own home for a second. This blog and it’s purpose got a bit of a boost today from the blog Robot 6 over at Comic Book Resources. Their regular feature “Show Us Your Shelf Porn”was one of the webspaces which gave me some of the impetus to start up this little blog. Well,this week I got the opportunity to give a little back,and my library is the featured collection.
I’ve been talking to them for a little while now and a week or so ago I sent them a brand new set of photos as well as a brand new tour/essay,focusing on the organization and construction of my shelves and some other issues that I haven’t necessarily had a chance to go into here yet. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to their blog and to share my thoughts,and this site,with the wider community. Thanks to editor Chris Mautner for the chance to share my thoughts and photos with the wider online community.
So go on over and check them out. This link will take you directly to my entry. This link will take you to their main blog page. And this link will take you to other entries in the series.
Continue reading Plug Time:I Showed The Robot My Shelf Porn
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
I missed this now that I no longer read the local free daily “Red Eye”over other riders shoulders on my commute into work each day,but the online comic rumor column Lying In The Gutters linked to it yesterday. From last week,an article entitled “Pack Rat Attack”about people who horde,or collect,items and their attempts to clean-up their lives. It is a lite piece,meant to be read in a few minutes on the train on a page that is 90% images,but worth passing along for this:
Experts say most pack rats tend to share certain traits. They have a hard time making decisions,they procrastinate a lot and tend to make strong emotional attachments to the things they buy or collect,according to Cassiday. Sometimes,hoarding tendencies are linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Often,pack rats have parents who were the same way.
Emphasis added by me. That entire first paragraph has nothing to do with me (other than the “strong emotional attachments”and a one-time very inacurrate OCD diagnosis),but I thought the second paragraph was worth noting,understanding who makes up a portion of this blog’s readership.
End of line
I decided to put a lot of work into the project this weekend. A cold &rainy Saturday and a snowy Sunday gave me a good excuse. Saturday I spent organizing that table full of comics from last week. Dividing them up into potential auction lots and putting them all into shortboxes. 13 boxes of comics in all! Sunday I started in on the books and managed to pull around two whole bookshelves worth of graphic novels to sell. Check this out:
Continue reading Weeding:Round Three
I actually pulled a lot more books even after this. Still,it was a bit like losing twenty pounds.
So,after a request in my comments,my father,John Day,was kind enough to take photos of the completed “basement of bookshelves”. You can visit the entire Flickr Photostream at:http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikoday/sets/72157615600681785/with/3370449266/ But I wanted to share a few prime pieces here. (All comments by John Day).
Continue reading Shelf Porn Request:My Father’s Books
Three bookshelves of science fiction.
The short-boxes of comics:Post weeding round one.
With a week or two under my belt I went back for another round of weeding of the comic book collection. I made a mini-attempt last weekend and only pulled a few more items for sale. But it ate away at my mind every night and every day. I kept wanting to back and pull more and more and more. I had finally turned that corner and knew that I could cut real,real deep. That this was to be the major change where I stopped keeping stuff. So after a successful week at a work conference and a day full of freelance work (Alter Ego #85,coming soon to a store near you) I took a couple of hours on Sunday and went back.
For those of you keeping track,the picture to the right is where the comic book collection was at after the first round of pulling. A couple of shortboxes down,but much,much further to go. Want to see how much I turned the corner,here is where I am as of right now:
Weeding Round Two:Half Gone,Baby!!!
Continue reading Weeding:Round Two
So,after the previous tour,I wanted to go back and share details of some of the sections and shelves in my library. The original photos give you an idea of the size,scope,and arrangement of what I have gathered over the years. These should give you,and me,an idea of the individual elements and what some of these things mean to me,and what mean nothing to me anymore. I’m going to break these up by section,so lets start with the bookcases in the library and office that cover my independent comics,as well as the 1980s collection.
Continue reading Shelf Porn Close-Ups:The Independents &’80s
A collection of Grant Morrison books,including the runs of Doom Patrol,The Invisibles,and Seven Soldiers. The real pride here are the Titan Books Zenith collections from the late-80s. A real ground breaking work from early in his career that is so tied up in rights dispute who knows if it will ever be collected again.
Lets see if I can get rid of half of these.
At their heart both the graphic novels and tradepaperbacks on my book shelves and the periodical pamphlets in my short boxes are the same thing:they are all comics. However,I think they serve very different roles,both emotional and practical,in my life as a reader. As such,if I want to establish goals and purpose for the weeding of these unique sections of my collection,I need to look at them as separate but interconnected entities. Here then is a start on goals for the weeding of:the floppies.
Continue reading My Goals For The Weeding:Comic Books
X-Men Comics Weeded A Year Ago
The impetus for this blog was my desire to do a major cull of my collection of comic books and graphic novels;a very familiar desire. This is not the first time I have walked into my home,looked at all my things and felt just a little bit sick at the sight of the size and the scope of it all. In fact,I think I’ve been getting rid of things for almost as long as I’ve been collecting comics.
In that time,however,I have been living the life of a yo-yo dieter. I hit a collection size,or weight,that I am unhappy with,cut back,or diet,for awhile to get that size back under control,but don’t make the sort of lifestyle changes necessary to prevent you from gaining it all back and more.
So,since this blog is my serving as a diet diary,my weight watchers meeting you might say,I want to use it to examine some of the origins and patterns of this weight gain and hopefully use that self-knowledge to try to make long-term changes. So first,keeping the tired weight-metaphor going for one last sentence,I want to take a look my history of dieting.
Continue reading A History Of Culling:We Have Been Here Before…
So,to help you understand the scope of my mission,I should first give you a quick tour of the “collection.”I’ve done this in the fashion of the Shelf Porn collections from Robot 6,the Collected Editions Message Board at the Marvel Masterworks Resource Page,the Comics Journal Message Board,and elsewhere on the web. So let us walk through the various shelves in my world,with some slight commentary as we go. These are selected photos,and there will be a link to a full slide show at the end.
We start our tour in the living room with the "Public Bookshelf."I've long obsessed over which books to position as the public face of my collection. The books that people could judge me on:both for my excellent taste and for my not being a hip,sexy comic reader. It is something I've thought about ever since my first apartment in 1994.
Continue reading Shelf Porn:A Short Tour
I used to joke about having OCD,but there are people in this world whose lives are crippled by that affliction. I used to joke about being “addicted”,but again I have know people who have struggled with the actual disease and know it should never be applied to this. I have fought over the definition of geek versus nerd (and true to form,know that only I am right). But in the end,the only truly honest statement can be:
My name is Chris… and I have a ridiculously stupid number of comics.
Twelve book shelves filled with graphic novels. 25 to 26 “short boxes” of comic books. Ten to twelve short boxes of comics related magazines (which are at least legitimately work related). Various other pieces of sequential art scattered elsewhere around my house. The look on the faces of the movers when they showed up at my apartment in Rhode Island to move me will be forever scarred into my soul.
When I was in college and was just starting to actively build a music collection,my roommate (who had the same compulsion) turned to me one day,pointed at our respective CD collections,and said “Those there,those are our cars.”
Today I look around my apartment at my books and think “Those there,I don’t even want to think of what those are.”
So I know I have a problem. I knew I had a problem even before the economy started to go to hell in a hand basket and everyone started questioning what disposable income meant in a world where essential income was becoming scarce. I need to step away. To pull back and regroup. To better define why I buy,and what I buy,and why I keep it. To figure out what is route gathering and what is collecting for enjoyment. What is the difference between reading something once or treasuring it forever.
And that’s what I hope this will be. My semi-public therapy sessions as I try to work through in my mind what brought me to this point and where I want to go from here. I also hope it will be a way of celebrating what I love about comic books. I know there is a reason I have these things,beyond nostalgia or misdirection of sexual energy,and I want to better understand that.
I also want to celebrate the collected edition,the graphic novel,the tradepaperback. I want to share “shelf porn”,an internet meme of photographing the way you display your books and comics to the world. I will share my own and direct you to others.
Of course all this is in theory. Every other web project I have started is currently languishing,but I am serious about this effort of self-examination and change and I hope that this method might allow me to think it through and make permanent,positive change.
So a bit of philosophizing and self-examination… a bit of anti-materialism possession reduction diary… and a bit of I don’t know. And now,on to the shelf porn…
Coming Soon to PN6700-PN6790…
- The Public Face [or Wanna Come Up And See My Kramer’s Ergot]
- Genetic Origins [or It’s All Mom And Dads Fault]
- Completeness [or I Swear I’m Not A Collector]
- The Librarian [or Collecting for Posterity]
- The Fix
- The Library
- My People
- Obsessing Over Format
- The Love of Look