My other half left, again. I don’t mean my spouse, if any of you were suddenly reaching for your phone. Let’s not get crazy! What I meant to say is, my other personality, no that’s not right either.
Oh, I’m painting a fantastic picture.
What I”m trying to say is that the reader in me has left, again. She does this from time to time, and I hate her for it, as it seems she has no respect for my attachment issues. She waltzes in at the beginning of the summer and starts pulling books off the shelf at the local library. She actually gets there early and finds time to sit on the floor of the new book section with a few rolls of Smarties and starts a running list.
She spends a couple of hours looking, smelling, and reading the blurbs of these newly printed books while jotting down which ones have the opportunity to make the cut. Then she goes home and compares them to the Best Sellers list or reads reviews on them without giving too much away, so we can relish in the novels
we she finally decides on.
Shortly after the final bell rings for summer she gets us started on our beloved reading list. I buzz right along side of her as we read and savor our choices. I love when she comes to town and always delight in her stamina for sticking to our reading goals. I’ve even effortlessly forgiven her for making me read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It isn’t that I objected to the book, it was more the challenge she’d snuck in, without me realizing it. Sometimes, my reader, she sticks her heels in and insists we continue even when we’re so confused we can’t remember if we’re dreaming or reading, but we drink it in anyway.
Yes, we’d read through our summer very well until, unfortunately, she threw me a curve ball during the month of August. We’d been slowly topping off our reading list, cleaning up all the final chapters and had finally returned the last of the piles back to their shelves with a triumphant high-five, or clap of the hands.
Yeah, I know I can’t really high-five myself, lets not get into details. This is my pathetic inner process that I’m spitting up here, not yours.
By the end of summer, we walk away feeling more knowledgeable and more importantly, full of ideas to ponder during the long and busy school year.
Relax, I’m not saying she doesn’t allow me to read during the busy months, I’m simply explaining that we set aside our full day reading routine in an effort to stay engaged with the children of the house, who apparently still need mothering, I said mothering…not smoothering, during the school year. Their schedules pick up with a vengeance, along with PTA and church responsibilities that we’d relaxed on during the summer months, so because of that we’ve always been in agreement that a few books a month is plenty to juggle, while school is in session.
She wasn’t thrilled about my taking on two bible studies, they were going to occupy a fair share of our allotted time, as would the blog she said I was “obsessed” with. Then she went so far as to hint that the “other writings” were beginning to suffer, she never sticks up for the Writings, the two are always at odds.
Apparently, now they’ve teamed up, great.
Anyway, my right side finally agreed with my left side and we’d decided that the monthly book club book, coupled with her free choice book would be sufficient reading on a month to month basis each school year. I mean come on, we won’t be lacking, it’s this plus two weekly bible study books which come with homework. She’ll be plenty busy.
This brings us current and to our visit to the library three weeks ago. She knew the rules going in. We were to choose one book for pleasure, then grab the book club book and be done. Easy peasy, in and out.
This is where she gets cocky….
She thought she had all the time in the world…
Suddenly, it was summer all over again and she wanted to take on more than what we’d agreed upon. I cannot blame the innocent friend who whispered, Philippa Gregory, in
our my ear over coffee while discussing her recent trip to France. This was not the friend’s fault. No, the reader, she, I knew what was in the best interest of the family, but she steamrolled her way through the library, straight through to the fiction area and promptly sat down.
First she started tempting me with only one, it’d be okay if we changed our mind and chose something else, a random topic, to read. She poked me in the ribs and said “Come on…get crazy once and awhile.”
I smiled and thought “Yeah, you never do, Audrey.”
We read the blurbs and ran our fingers over the covers while trying to decide on one. The room was quiet and the woman, one aisle over, shelving books was barely breathing, as she slid each novel back into place. I was lost in the library and my mind was back in Elizabethan London, contemplating what everyone wore and if life really was just as she’d written it was….
I found myself reading a chapter, then laying it down to pick up another, the whole time wondering if there was an order to the books the author had written. I contemplated whether she had written them as a series. Then I found myself stacking the books in the order they had been written, wondering what the odds were that someone would come in after I left today, possibly tomorrow, and take a few of the one’s I’d left behind. This sent me into a panic over which ones would be left behind and if I’d see them again after today…
Okay, this where I clarify that the Kindle I have and the reading budget I’m allowed means nothing to me. I don’t like reading my books in this way and, if I can, I will forever go to the public library to choose my stories. Albeit more than you may have expected, I’ve already explained that there is much more to this process than simply reading a book. I can’t go all willy nilly and such.
Well there you have it. Picture me criss-cross applesauce on the questionably clean carpet of my beloved library with somewhere between 12-14 books all on a chopping block, with only one survivor per round.
I know, I’m thinking what your thinking, I had put my stories smack dab in the middle of The Hunger Games….
As the Librarian placed all my books into the four plastic bags that had to be borrowed (yick) from her stash, I asked her, with loads of doubt in my voice, “Have you read any of these?”
She relied, “Well a few, a couple I’ve been looking forward to reading this year, actually.”
I squared up, and then while looking dead in her eyes I said, “Which ones? Is there an order I should be reading them in?”
She laughed (how dare she, this was serious) and said, “No, you’ll be busy though, for a while, either way.”
I remember looking at her and nodding as I picked up my sacks with a possessive tug, “Yeah, but
we I read fast.”
Three weeks later, what I’ve concluded is that she already knew there was no way my three weeks were going to possess enough free-time to finish the collection. She must have gotten the memo that school was back in session, drat!
Shortly after that day at the library, I’d say a week and a half into it she, my reader, left. She left me high and dry, that crazy, book smelling, over achiever took off. She got too busy with her fall deadlines and new schedules and left me to try and defeat the giant alone. I’ve tried really hard, but without our free-time and open schedule we failed at our three-week deadline.
I had to return about half the novels unread.
I tried to hold on to them. I even explained to them my dilemma and how it wasn’t them, but
her me, who failed. She had set us up to fail, trying to take them all on at once, knowing my time would be limited and that I’d spread myself too thin trying to give all of myself for them, and the words they contained.
I explained I’d be back for those I’d left behind, the ones I hadn’t spent time with, in fact I set a date for each one knowing I’d get to them eventually, month by month.
I even promised if they weren’t there when I came for them, I’d go electronic and spend my time and money searching for them, out there somewhere in the Universe or in Techie Amazonland.
Finally, I warned them that, the other one, ya, eventually she’d be back, too.
When the breeze turns and the days get longer, she’ll show up at the library, but I encouraged my abandoned stories to rest assured. We’ll have finished our time together and she wouldn’t be a threat to them any longer.