November 25th, 2012

Berthold Run

Stilllllllllllll going...nothing outlasts my need to have Fewer Books...

I'm about to go to the second bag of books-waiting-to-be-sold-or-donated, because I want a good pile before I try selling again. Plus books get heavy. I've moved a bunch of times, and I worked for three weeks in January 2001 in a Scholastic Books warehouse: I know from experience.

There's stuff I won't touch: my collections of Caitlin R. Kiernan (greygirlbeast), Poppy Z. Brite (docbrite), and Harlan Ellison are all safe in my boxes and on my shelves. Heck, I hope that when I can afford it, I would buy a painting Brite's done, since that's a good way to support him right now. And a painting's easier to put on a wall than a book; a book needs that whole shelf thing...

Weirdly, I get a quick mix of emotions when I decide I'll keep a book; glad that it'll likely have re-read value, but a little annoyed I haven't cleared that spot in my collection. But I hope Future Me will thank me for keeping what I've kept, and not go "You kept that? Why?!" (Don't say that about the Edith Wharton I saved! I like being reminded that I like her!) And plenty of other books will go away:

I've been surprised at how many screenplays I've sent to the "sell or donate" bag. I doubt I'm going to get much re-read value out of them, even when they're William Goldman scripts. (I had several script books by him; I've kept none of them, but have kept his behind-the-scenes books Adventures in the Screen Trade and Which Lie Did I Tell?) I can remember the behind-the-scenes stories a lot of them include, like Frank Darabont's book on the making of The Shawshank Redemption; I don't need the physical book any more, really, so it's already sold. And any vague ideas or hopes that maybe someday I'd write screenplays of my own were likely totally smothered by reading the fascinating essays Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott have published at their site Wordplayer. It's a weird world, the writing-for-Hollywood world, and the limitations, attacks on your work, and frequent lack of out-and-out success are often ridiculous. Even the most successful screenwriters have horror story upon horror story about work of theirs getting mangled with bad or less-good movies as a result (Rossio titled one essay "The $100 Million Mistake"). Still, screenplays are good lessons in how you need to structure your stories, since movie and especially TV show lengths are so strict: tell your story in 100 to 120 pages (on average) so take only x number of pages and z number of scenes to make your points. Do it with flair, but do it quickly. I can remember that, even with fewer scripts on my shelves.

Now I wonder how much I'll buy books from now on. My access to a damn good library, family and friends who can lend me books, and NOT WANTING TO SPEND TOO MUCH ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW, all mean I'm much more particular about buying. I actually hope that's not always the case: I'm too partial to the smell of used books and like to buy them.

Yes, the smell will make me buy again. I justify my addictions.

ETA: I have word from reader and experienced Southern person rafaela that it's better to start with Faulkner's short fiction. She recommended "A Rose For Emily." Sometime after this, I'll try that.

Later ETA: Putting this completely different recommendation here: coyotegoth mentioned that Joan Vinge's The Show Queen is worth reading. I hope this helps me remember.