I’ve been ill for the past week, and while that hasn’t stopped me from getting a couple hundred pages into The Dark Tower or from getting sucked into Breath of the Wild, my motivation to write has been a little shot. The sickness was so bad at one point it even stopped me from enjoying said anticipated video game. That being the case, this week’s post is more on the light side. I just wanted to make sure I wrote something. This is a bit of a continuation of a line of thought I had in a post I wrote months ago called “What We Get To,” although more lighthearted.
Do you ever feel like you’re just hoarding stories? I’ve had compulsions to buy books before, which I’ve reigned in over the years. While recently I’ve managed to amass a collection of five new canon Star Wars books yet only read one, I’ve generally gotten good about reading books soon after I buy them. This problem extends to movies, comic books, and video games as well, of course, which is why I use the umbrella “story” hoarding. I buy them and shelve them, or set them aside on a Netflix list, never actually getting to them.
The ridiculous thing I’ve noticed — this is especially the case with books for me — is the hesitation to start at all. I really wonder if anyone else has this tendency, or if it’s just me (not sure how I’d feel about that). At first, I thought I was just savouring things, but I realized there’s something more to it. Picking apart my logic I realized I was sitting on these books like a literate Smaug, figuratively reveling in my hoard of printed works but not actually reading any of them. If I don’t read the hardcover of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts that I’ve owned since I was 19 I still get to later.
The ridiculousness isn’t the optimism that I’ll get to it eventually, it’s the slightly covetous notion that I don’t want to lose the state of getting to read it eventually. Once I’ve read it, I don’t get to read it for the first time ever again. It’s some sort of weird bibliophilic state of having one’s cake and eating it too. Of course, the book doesn’t disappear after you read it, films can be watched again, games can be replayed, but the sense of discovery certainly does go away. So, I sit upon my hoard of gold and spend nary a piece of it, so it speak. You can’t have it either. It’s my book. You might warp the spine.
I am getting better, like I said. While I owned Wolves of the Calla for many years before I read it last summer, I started the final two Dark Tower books shortly after buying them. I’ve been buying the remaining Hellboy volumes I need to have the whole series and I’m nearly done with reading them. Still, I do sometimes catch myself look at my shelves, and all the unread books and thinking “Look at all these books I get to read…later.”