Should I Stay or Should I Go? (Library Edition)

Today I’m beginning the process of saying goodbye to books. We have separated them into KEEP and GIVE AWAY bookshelves.

Here are the KEEP shelves:

photo 1

And here are the GIVEAWAY shelves:

photo 2

Some of the giveaway books I’ve had since high school, like the poetry anthologies and writing prompt books, for instance. You collect books, and that becomes part of your identity. An outward show of intellectual rigor. A safety net for “writer’s block.” Right this very minute, my friend is telling me on Facebook that he hasn’t written a poem in a month. I will go to my poetry prompt books and find him something good to work on. If he comes to me with the same problem two weeks from now, I won’t have the books. I will have to rely on my noggin to help him.

And I’ll be honest. Since my dad’s Alzheimer’s, I’m a little wary of my own brain. I’ve been taken down a peg; I’m a little fearful of losing my faculties. The books at least point to some neuronal activity…

But we’re leaving this place. We’re heading out into the world with no concrete destination. We’ve chosen experience over domestic security. We’ve chosen to walk away from the collections–sometimes it feels like I’m ripping pieces of flesh off of my face. Other times like I’m unloading stones from my stomach.

(But I’m not insane or anything. There are still shelves full of keepers heading to a storage unit in plastic bins until we settle down somewhere else and start again.)

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3 thoughts on “Should I Stay or Should I Go? (Library Edition)

  1. It’s tough to let go of books. That said, when I moved overseas to the US all I could bring in the way of books were a handful of bare essentials stuffed into the two suitcases, between the rest of my life. I have to say that while I felt naked for the first weeks (months?), I soon found I missed the books I left behind less than I thought. I might be a hopeless case, though, because in the less than 3 years I’ve been here I’ve already amassed a good number of books and will have to go through the same weeding process you’re in the middle of by the time I graduate. Keeping my fingers crossed for you that your experience will be similar to mine — that it won’t feel as bad as you thought it would.

  2. Alexis,

    I thought for a dusty moment that you had photographed my study. I have 5,000 books that keep my 3,000 albums company – the CD’s our completely ignored these days. I bought a house in Florida thinking that would ease the space issue. Nope. Also, the kindle remains overflowing. Words! What can I say?

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