So this Saturday I will be done with this phase of the great Summer ’11 Weeding,and there is a big post 0r two in the journey of the last few weeks. But not for this morning. For this morning,a quick reminder of why we do this…
Just one more book,that's all I want...
Warey Myers Decorative Arts “The Basement Stacks”
“Books breaking through the (faux) wall downstairs,referencing the “basement stacks”every library has. In this case it’s as if those stacks had been sealed up during some remodel,and are anthropomorphically breaking through,referencing the old library,history,roots,poltergeists… Created for the VIA Advertising Agency,which recently renovated and moved their offices into the old Baxter building,which served as Portland’s public library from 1888 until the 1960s.”(via Boing Boing)
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…
I’ve tried. I honestly have. I want to say that the process has continued,even though the writing ceased sometime last fall. Since I started this blog in February of last year I’ve had a fairly large promotion at work (at just about the time blogging stopped regularly),started performing improv regularly for money,and started a very positive long term relationship. All of this has meant a year of readjusting and rearranging projects and otherwise. All very good things,which have meant that writing down the thoughts on the inside of my skull has taken a back seat.
But the weeding,the purging,the mental cleaning has continued all along. I’m proud to say that in the last year I’ve cleared out one more bookcase worth of books,started a pull list at my local comic shop (to help control and manage my regular purchases),canceled my eMusic membership,and managed to cut down my month graphic novel purchase to around a fourth of its previous size. Looking at the regular tally of eBay results it appears that since last March I’ve sold just under 2,500 comics,just under 1,000 graphic novels,28 manga volumes,75 magazines,and 69 mini-comics (with an additional 70 books sold through Amazon or given away)! While new items have entered into my world during this time,the three empty bookshelves,and partially empty shelves,along with the reduced monthly output feels great!
But I’m not done. Before I move house in October I intend to clear out some more in various aspects (including music). Plus I’ve had interesting conversations with people asking me further about the why of what I am doing,what I want to get out of it,and if any aspects of this process might be a mistake,and that leaves me wanting to write some more to try to understand and explain.
So,as I said,I’m back. For the next month I’m gonna try to post at least twice a week,possibly Sunday and Wednesday,to get going with a bit of regularity. It won’t all be Irv Kupcinet quality columns,but I want to see if I can do this.
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
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
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.
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
Four shortboxes of comics pulled for disposal.
Well,I spent a rainy Saturday afternoon this past weekend beginning the weeding process going through my short boxes:the actual comic book collection. The great cull has begun…and I’m loving it.
This was just a first round and was mean to serve two purposes:to clean and to,basically,to just get the process moving. And it worked. I made it through the entire collection of comics,starting to pull for sale and putting away all the random pieces from around the house. And made some psychological steps down this road to a new life.
By the end of the afternoon it felt like I had made a lot of process. I pulled approximately four short boxes worth of comics to get rid of,including one that I planned to put up for E-Bay on Sunday. Assuming a short box holds between 150 and 175 comics that meant I was pulling around 680 comics to sell. It felt like I had done a lot of good. But then,I took another look into the “library”and felt a little less positive. To see what I mean,continue reading after the jump…
Continue reading Weeding:Round One
I forget how good it feels to cut even the small things out of your life. The reclamation of even a small amount of time or effort can be amazingly refreshing. This weekend,even before I started working on my comics and graphic novels,I made some tiny little cuts that in the wild world had little affect,really gave me a boost.
First,I called up my cable company and had my phone turned off and canceled a handful of cable channels. Because I was getting huge price cuts with a services bundle,the monetary reward was very little (though I think I’ll save more from not having to pay taxes on the phone) but I use the phone so little I couldn’t even tell you the number on a bet. I have switched over to cell phone use and since my internet is through the cable no other reason to keep it around. And cutting Showtime and a few other related movie channels saved me,I think,$3.00 from my bill but it felt like I was removing potential clutter. I only watch one show on Showtime with any passion and there are other options whenever the next season of Dexter rolls around. Tiny victories that have removed unneeded aspects of my world.
In a related way,I went through my Season Pass list on the DVR and deleted a bunch of shows. Shows that I only half-watched or would put off for weeks on end before deleting. Even if they provided me a tiny bit of pleasure,seeing that long list of shows to watch realy weighed heavily on my psyche. Why gather these things when they don’t offer me pleasure. Isn’t it better to record three or four shows that I will watch and enjoy than ten police procedurals that do little more than fill time.
Continue reading Cutting Feels Real Good
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…