Da Boss and I have quite different views on many aspects of family life or home life. That is especially true when it comes to our views on my study. As far as she is concerned it is a mess, a disgrace and needs sorting NOW!
I, on the other hand, acknowledge that it is untidy, but it is MY space and I know where all the important things are. Now normally she agrees that she will stay away and let me close the door on my sanctuary.In return, I do have periodic tidying sessions and over the last few months have even bitten the bullet and given away nearly a thousand books to local charity shops. Most of them were what I think of as “railway reading”. That is they are the sort of book that you pick up at the start of a train journey and have mostly completed by the end of your journey.
In other words, they are not great literature, they are handy and enjoyable but are probably not going to be read more than once or twice.
Then there were various collections of books by particular authors. Like almost everyone I do have phases when I discover a new writer and then avidly read almost all of their works – ideally in chronological order. But I do acknowledge that they tend to be slightly formulaic and although worth a couple of reads they are not particularly challenging or high up on my list of keepers.
Now we come to the more problematic areas, authors whom I have read for years. And genres that have stayed with me for decades. For example, I have been a science fiction fan since a teenager. I have all of Isaac Asimov’s fiction, but not his technical or scientific stuff. Similarly, I have most of Robert Heinlein’s fiction as well. Along with these there are collections of various authors’ short stories
Other authors who I have collected for years include Steinbeck, Terry Pratchett, Simon Scarrow and more recently Hilary Mantel. I also have a penchant for Robert Aspirin, Orson Scott Card and Ursula LeGuin.
Then come the biographies and autobiographies, these occupy a couple of shelves and have so far been untouched in the great clear out. Along with those are a very weird collection of books, ranging from The Magic of Conflict to The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. (A thoroughly useful read by the way.)
Another shelf is filled with reference books including five dictionaries, admittedly two are French or Spanish to English, so they don’t count. But I could not part with Brewer’s Phrase and Fable nor Eric Partridge’s Usage and Abusage or indeed Fowler.
But despite all this clearance on my part I have still incurred the wrath of Da Boss.
She stood in the middle of the room and stared, then shook her head. “Its just not good enough!” she announced. “This place is so disorganised, something has to be done.”
And that was when I blew it.
How stupid can a man be?
Well actually quite a bit more – as I continued my explanation, not stopping to consider the consequences of mixing logic and finer points of language with someone who had an entirely different agenda.
“You see, I continued blithely, “disorganised has more the implication that either things were previously organised, or that they can/will/should be so in future!”
She leapt on my words immediately.
“Exactly, and that is what needs to happen. They can should and WILL be organised”
Oh dear friend, why did I lay myself open to this?
If you don’t hear from me for several months then it only means that I have been trapped into organising the study. That then means that I won’t be able to find a damned thing when I want it. Worse still it will keep me from my favourite pastimes of reading and occasionally scribbling to you.Thank goodness that Da Boss has no way of discovering how disastrous is my way of filing things on this computer. Here I use utterly random organisational techniques, but that is strictly between ourselves OK?