Friday, June 11, 2010

The Shelf Also Rises


[click to enlarge]


The tall bookcase is new. I assembled it, all by myself, the day before yesterday. I was left alone because no one can stand to be around me when I undertake such things. I started quietly and methodically enough, but as the sweat began to roll and the blasted directions betrayed me, I became, shall we say, rather “animated.” Only once, however, did I have to prevent myself from bashing the thing to smithereens. I was on a step ladder at the time. There was a screw driver in my hand. But the need for shelf space outweighed my anger.

The result, I think, is quite nice. As you can see, the bookcase is already full. Meanwhile, as fate would have it, the books in the foreground arrived in the evening by UPS as I was nearing completion. They’re a generous and amazing gift from poet Gerry Boyd. So far, I’ve sorted them into four general categories: poetry; books about poetry; drama; fiction; nonfiction; biography; and reference. As I said, four categories. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven... hmm — no wonder I have trouble building things.

I’ll write more about this wonderful shipment later — maybe in my next life, or after the aspirin kicks in. Obviously, each book must be sniffed, handled, examined, and properly welcomed. Quite by accident, I did find a pressed flower in one. I let it stay, of course. And I’ve already forgotten which book it’s in.


Update:
In the Forum: the old Victrola and “Tea for Two.”

24 comments:

all ways 11 o'clock said...

William- Very nice shelf indeed. I am glad you made it through the ordeal.

You sniff books!!! I love sniffing books and when I go into a second hand bookstore it is devine.

William Michaelian said...

Absolutely. As soon as I step inside, I inhale, and take the atmosphere deep into my lungs. From there it quickly enters the blood stream, and in mind and body I am restored.

RUDHI - Chance said...

Well, I feel well after my visit of a home of a book-fool as me;-) *Your* 3/1 Strawberries are nearly ready painted and eaten...

vazambam said...

William,

Nice corner to paint yourself in--but be careful of that very rare edition of "The Cane Mutiny"! Who did that once belong to?

William Michaelian said...

Rudhi and Vassilis, are you writing these comments together? Caine, cane. Queeg: “Ah, but the strawberries! That’s, that’s where I had them.”

Vassilis: that was my pappy’s cane.

awyn said...

What an incredibly generous gift, and what a wonderful idea, to send our books to people who will honor, re-read and cherish them. Gerry’s gift to you, William, has inspired me to consider doing the same. There is an imbalance between those of us who have many, and those who have few, or none. (imprisoned writers, for example). I realized something after seeing the photo of the book pile. I think I actually groaned at the thought: that it would take two whole other lifetimes to read all the books I have amassed over the years, some in languages I have yet to master. Your posting today, whether you intended it or not, reminds me of this fact, and nudges me to act on it, if only one book at a time. (People who love and keep books will understand how difficult it is sometimes, to part with them.) But thank you for your splendid example, Gerry--and you, William, for telling us about it.

William Michaelian said...

Ah, but Annie, what if I told you Gerry really lost them to me in a poker game? The rascal. And this is only a down payment. I’m still awaiting a shipment of rare signed first editions — although rumor is that he’s suddenly disappeared, leaving behind a wealth of empty bookcases....

You’re right, of course. I’m still in awe of the wonderfully kind thing he’s done. I don’t think I could do the same, at least where books are concerned. And I have a theory that you don’t have to read them all to know what’s inside. In fact, I would go so far to say that you don’t have to read any of them, because their content is everywhere in us and around us. Then again, what the heck am I saying? That’s an argument against reading the ones I write....

But I’ve loved books from the time my mother started taking me to the library when I was a kid. I loved being around them. And I loved reading them, and disappearing inside.

And what I said about not having to read them — forget it. Every voice counts. Every nuance. Every word. Every twist of ink and fiber.

If you do act on your inspiration, I ask one thing: consider me an imprisoned writer. I do not make light of those restrained; and yet, such description is, at least at times, painfully fitting.

Wine and Words said...

Musty old book smell is the main component I search for in a good wine! I am also damn fond of printers ink...newly minted...but won't drink that.

Fine shelving William. I am looking closely to see your photos...who represented...the human treasures that line your life. I am taking in your artwork, the surroundings there telling me so much more than words ever could.

William Michaelian said...

Annie Wine and Words, in light of your comment, I refer you to three more photographs of my “parlor and workspace,” here, here, and here. The first is a sunrise edition of the area pretty much as it looked before the new bookcase was in....

mythopolis said...

Powells book store smells nice. But I got really high on pulp when I spent the night with dear friends in Portland. The only place they could put me up, was their walk-in closet which was floor to ceiling books. My cot was in the middle of that, and it was quite like The Twilight Zone.
I had once quite too many books, I loved them, but nomadism and boxes of books are not the best of bed-fellows. I parted with many, but I do still miss them. I have clung on to a few. And I still, from time to time, take down the collected works of Jorge Luis Borges. I like to hold them, and flip through pages.

ALeks said...

I do have pressed flowers and leaves in my books!! Forgot which one's !!
I love the look of your new book room,very good job on that beautiful shelf glad to hear you are unharmed and well !!
Enjoy them!

Crissant said...

You made a good job!
I didn`t know the state of this room before. But i can smell a book frangance.
You and my husband have similar attitud about organization. When he starts to organize and clean his space i leave him alone. I just can`t stand him...ahahaha.

Well, in the end all is perfect.
Have a nice weekend, William!

William Michaelian said...

mythopolis, imagine an entire hotel that operates on the procedure you’ve described. Then again, I guess it would be like sleeping at Powell’s.

Thanks, Aleksandra. I’m proud of this little accomplishment, even if it’s only a temporary solution!

You too, Crissant — and I hope your husband saves his organizing for next week. Enough is enough. I quit. Time to read and inhale....

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

:-) a very nice place, when I was a a teenager I always dreamed the figure of the writer (thank to the franch damned poets) and I have always imagined the writer's room, exately just as yours .... never I have imagined that a time somethings of me it will be in a writer room... yes life is wonderfull

a very good job with the library, I can understand you well with alone work with such job

William Michaelian said...

Laura, isn’t it wonderful how your painting is watching over the room? I intend to have it framed, but it’s been raining so much here that I don’t dare take it out of the house.

Yes, I suppose I belong in the nineteenth century....

Alberto Oliver said...

What a need to build we people have,,towers, tales,,ramparts, castles.
And then come the father time and say: these creatures, what are they pretending to do??
And my tower of cardboard boxes falls down on me =)=)

rahina q.h. said...

Alberto, you forgot to mention bookshelves and these ones look pretty solid. well done William! enjoyed reading your post:)

William Michaelian said...

Alberto — if your boxes are full of books, then you’re a real survivor!

Thanks, Rahina. When my son came by to see the new bookcase, the first thing he did was push against it to see how strong it was. It proudly stood its ground.

Janice said...

William you have done a great job building a wonderful home for more of your family of books. I love all of my books and I cannot part with any one of them! I have books that I have not read but they ask nothing of me but to wait patiently on their shelves for me to find the time to open their covers and then they will tell me all that they know :)

William Michaelian said...

Ah, Janice, I love that you’re a “book person.” The truth is, I draw strength and comfort from them each time I pass through the room.

Denise Scaramai said...

I love your room and library, even more because you rode all alone ...
is the kind of thing we do here at home too, and we also have many many books, and many objects that would mount to a small museum ... :)
was so nice to share this with us your 'work'
hug

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Denise. It’s the same here in the other rooms, old things, family things, pictures from the “old days.” My mother saved everything, and now I’m the museum caretaker. We eat at the old oak table my father played under as a child at my great-grandparents’ house....

Vatche said...

Hey, William! Cool bookshelf and well, everything really. I see that you have a typewriter in the background there. Do you ever use it?

Also, I noticed that your blog looks rather nice and sleeker with this new template you put up.

So anyway, awesome job not only on the bookshelf but also your website.

Write on!

William Michaelian said...

Vatche, the typewriter needs a fresh ribbon. I haven’t used it in quite awhile, but I’ve hammered on it enough. Many years ago, I was given a really basic electric typewriter that I hated, and I managed to trade it straight across for the Royal.

As for the layout, I guess it was high time for a change. I’m liking it so far. I noticed that you jazzed yours up too. It looks good.

Thanks!