Monday, March 12, 2007

Thinking Inside the Boxes

As in so many things, I seem to be out of step with the rest of mankind when it comes to the spring time change. This is supposed to be the hard one, when you have to get up an hour early, but it's an easy adjustment for me. In fact, today I woke up before my alarm went off (which is a good thing because while I set my alarm, I forgot to actually turn it on -- kind of like how I managed to set my alarm instead of my clock an hour ahead on Saturday night). I think the way my sleep cycles tend to fall, I wake up at about this time anyway, but I refuse to get up that much earlier than I need to, which then means I oversleep because I seldom fall back asleep for just an hour. I also adjust more easily to moving east a time zone than I do to moving west, even though I more or less function on Pacific time (go figure). The move toward spring also helps. I may joke about being part bear, but I have been more functional and up much earlier as the days have been getting longer. My body really does seem to hibernate.

The cleaning frenzy continues. I've discovered that I have a weird addiction to boxes. I think that comes from a phase in my life in which boxes were in short supply and I never had them when I needed them for wrapping gifts or mailing things. My mom used to save boxes, so that if you needed to, say, wrap a cello as a gift for someone, she could reach into her closet of boxes and pull out the perfect one. I, too, got in the habit of saving good boxes. But then it got out of control as I entered a phase in my life in which boxes were coming into my house faster than they were leaving. I get boxes of my own books sent by my publishers -- the US edition and each foreign edition. I have boxes of my own books that I've ordered. And then there's that little B& habit I've developed, not to mention boxes of other things like promo materials that get shipped to me. I could probably move using all the little book boxes I've got stockpiled. So why does it physically hurt to just throw one in the recycling bin? This annoying voice in the back of my head always says, "You'll probably need that tomorrow." And then there's my sentimental side. I hate the idea of throwing out a box from Random House stamped with my book title on the side.

I'm also realizing just how out-of-control the to-be-read pile is getting. Most of it is publisher freebies from conferences or things my editor has given me, but there are a few books in the stack that I bought that I've been saving for the perfect reading occasion. I'm running out of places to put the TBR books. There may even be more TBR books on the bookcases than there are books I've read and want to keep. I may force myself to at least try to read one per week, and if I can't get into it, I will allow myself to put it in a box to donate to a library book sale, take over to the neighborhood nursing home, or something like that (don't worry, Mom, these are all books you've read and returned to me). It's kind of sad when I don't get around to reading an advance reading copy until after the book has been released -- often until the mass-market paperback is already out. I guess the crazy bookshelves won't reflect badly on me in the newspaper interview because a reporter would expect a writer's home to look like the aftermath of an explosion in a Barnes & Noble.

Now to go deal with my mail. I've finally cleared space in my office to set up a mail center so I can avoid letting my mail settle in my living room. I can put the shredder right there, too, and that way I can get rid of the junk mail right away. Tomorrow I think I'll have a book report post, since in my cleaning I found some I ought to report on.

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