A quandary

I’ve been working away at my disaster of an office in concentric circles, expanding outward. I’m being ruthless and brutal and am making surprisingly great progress (“Look, the floor!”), but now I’ve come to the logjam of a bookcase in the northeast corner. Maybe 200 books, collections, journals, guides, studies, and bound manuscripts, mostly about baseball, but with some unimportant stuff tucked in here and there, too.

The top shelf holds mostly things I wrote, edited, or contributed to, and I suppose I’ll keep most of that. But then I run into trouble. I feel disloyal tossing stuff by friends, and I know how agonizingly hard some of the writers I gave moral support to worked on their projects. There are also a few books signed by authors I admire. (One has a charming inscription to H—and it’s a terrific read, too.) Then there are things I’ve had since boyhood, and which I’m sentimentally attached to. But most of this stuff has really got to go. I have a horror of having to pack up a mass of personal debris in quick time if we move, and a much greater horror of leaving the horrible job to a loved one. And really, not many people would think this material is worth anything.

So I’m gradually working my way around to just getting rid of it all. Or maybe allowing myself half a shelf. Or maybe I’ll just weed the obvious outz now, go skiing, and come back to it next summer. Or maybe the book fairy….

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