You find yourself gazing at this six-tiered monster, three cases wide, stuffed full of stories with no plan, no pattern. You used to be so careful with your books and their placement. Once they were arranged alphabetically; another time by theme (here the epic fantasy series all the books stacked together in one fat row; there the collection of poems next to your Victorian women authors); and yet another by height. You went so far as to separate your hardbacks from your paperbacks once, but that formality didn't last long.
Now they sit squished together, Victorian authors with the sword and sorcery, the poems mixed in with your cozy mysteries amidst knick-knacks and treasures, just as your sister haphazardly placed them when she unpacked them from their moving boxes. You cannot look upon your shelves now without seeing them as another sister-memory sewn into each book spine. These precious books, collected over the years, are stuffed into each shelf like paper sardines--you almost do not have enough room so your books must shed their modesty and take up house with a kaleidoscope of other words. Yet you cannot make yourself bring order to this joyful chaos.
You wonder what they have to talk about, the Collete novels that kiss your collection of fairy tales and hold up your cheesy romances written in Spanish. You wonder, too, if those stories begin to bleed into one another with their covers pressed so tightly against themselves. Your bookshelf seems to sign and settle, breathing in the weight of so many stories upon its back, within its skeleton.
It is a map, in many ways, of the stories you will write, a tangled ball of words that you un-knot from your writing desk to spin into new beginnings.
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