I am sitting here in my room, and I wish I could post a picture of it. I suppose I could go through the hassle of snapping pics and loading them onto the computer and uploading them here, but I won't. You'll have to draw your own mental picture, using my words. The main gist of it is: I'm surrounded by books.
I'm back to living in my parents' house, and to give you an idea of how big the book thing has always been, there's this: I was given the room with the built-in desk and bookshelves, swapped it with my brother, because even as a ten-year-old I had too many books and they knew this would at least help solve some of the problem. So in addition to the six shelves up there - many of which were childhood books I loved and left here with my parents' permission when I moved out - I've also brought my apartment's worth of books back with me. I've got a five-shelf Ikea bookcase double-parked with books. I've got a little three-shelfer (four if you count the books stacked on top) leaning precariously against the wall below the window. I have to be careful not to move too quickly near that one or they could all come toppling off. I have another five-shelf Target one double-stacked. There are books heaped on my dresser top. Books on the little side table by my door. Books lining the back of my desk, leaving barely enough room for my computer to nestle in there. And those are just the ones I own. There are also the library books (thirteen right now), usually stacked on my bedside table, though currently I have them fanned out across my bed, because I'm trying to make a decision.
I don't know what to read.
That probably sounds decadent. It really is. There are actually a lot of books I know I want to read. I want to read Les Miserables before I see the movie in December. I've been meaning to read Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone ever since I first heard of it. I'm eager to reread Cassie Clare's Mortal Instruments series ever since the movie teaser trailer came out. I have some philosophy books by Kierkegaard that have been calling my name for a while now.
But. But -
I pick one up. Start to read. Get maybe a few sentences in, sometimes a full chapter, before I realize something's wrong. It's terrible. And it's not the book itself that's terrible. It's that it's not right. It's that it's not what I want to read right now.
You know when you've got this craving, and you can't figure out what it is, and you stand in front of the pantry or refrigerator and you pick stuff up and keep saying, "Nope. Not it. Nuh-uh." You can tell all the things that aren't what you want, but you can't put a name to what it is you do want. I mean, obviously if you were genuinely starving you probably wouldn't care what you were eating. Anything would taste like deliciousness if you hadn't eaten for days. So the analogy breaks down.
But here's what I think. I think I can't figure out what book I want to read because I secretly know what book I want to read, and I can't read it. I can't read it because it hasn't been written yet.
I can't read it until I write it.
See, I like writing. But when I really care about something like I care about this story, it's scary and it's hard and there's too much pressure, and I can suddenly think of about a million other things I should be doing besides telling my story. I should be plotting out stuff for next year's Thirteen Days of Halloween. I should be reading so I can reach that goal of trying to read 100 books in a year. I should be cleaning my room, paying my bills, taking a walk, watching that movie rental that's going to be due soon. I should check twitter/facebook/email/tumblr/insert-social-networking-tool-of-choice-here:____. And all those things are good. They're great. They're important. But yet another day goes by and I haven't written a word, and then a day like this comes along - a perfectly normal day, but it's like something inside me just implodes. I went for a walk this afternoon, and something in me wanted to never stop walking, just keep going until I fell over from weariness, without any idea where I was or what would happen to me. Just go, go, go, go, go. Then I came in and was eating dinner with my folks and my mom asks me a completely ordinary question and I open my mouth to answer and I start to cry. And I can't pick a goddamn book to read when I'm swimming in an ocean of them.
And there are phrases that pop into my head at random.
I will fall away backwards up out of this world, and not a soul will miss me when I'm gone.
People recognize a vacuum, and naturally tend to gravitate away from it. That's why you're alone.
There is a void that stretches like a promise, where no one knows my shadow or my name.
That last one is an old one, but it keeps coming back.
The only thing I know is that I'm going to try to write. That I'm going to spend the next few months trying to pay off my debts. And that by this time next year I want to be out of this town. I don't know where/why/how, but I'm leaving.
I love my family and what few friends I have, but other than them and a mountain of books, I've pretty much got nothing to lose.