Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Burden of Books

What if what you love is not what you need? Yeah, addicts face this dilemma, but I can't really call an addiction a love, can I?

What about obsession? That's not really love, either.

Since before I ever learned to read, I've loved stories. As soon as I discovered the joy of reading for myself, books became my drug of choice. Although I did acquire discriminating tastes as I grew older, in my earlier years I pretty much read whatever came my way; I was a literary sponge.

Now, I'm clearing my shelves, and there are many. It's an unthinkable thing to do for a bibliophile -- to let books go -- but since I'm getting rid of ballast in other areas of my life, this is a logical act.

There are books that will remain, of course, but I would like to contain them all on only half the bookcases currently overflowing their capacity. And, Saturday afternoon, it was freeing and kinda fun to help my mother go along the shelves and choose from among the treasures that I once would never have loaned, let alone given.

The same will occur with my movie collection, already shrunken since the winnowing of last summer, yet still in need of a good thinning.

I never considered myself a collector until recently. After all, I didn't have a slew of Matchbox cars or Hot Wheels in shadow boxes on the walls, nor did I plunk down money on memorabilia or things that had to be hermetically sealed or constantly dusted. I was a curator of sorts, amassing a library of fiction and history and resources.

No, in recent months I had to admit that, in truth, I have become a collector, obtaining for the mere sake of having, not necessarily using or enjoying.

So, here I go, setting myself free.

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