Revenge of the Mind Candy

Bill tells me that the reason I desire to acquire is a longstanding homage to the hunter-gatherer in my genes. Centuries ago I would have been downing mammoths with my bow and arrow and filling my apron with bounties of found fruit, but as this is 2007 I am more likely to toddle over to the local Barnes & Noble and collect knowledge in paper form. Yes, books. Intoxicating, magical, orgasmic oceans of wonder. My personal addiction. But I've given them up for the year.

There was a definite salivation earlier today when my colleague at the library mentioned that the latest issue of Quilting Arts had arrived down in the processing area. I do mean salivation--of the Pavlovian puppy kind. The thought of possibly *new* and *improved* knowledge all packaged up with vibrant illustrations caused a physical reaction. I don't know whether to feel embarrassed or shrug it off as normal.

If I take a step back and evaluate the long-term emotional value of owning books, the hollowness is apparent. The rush, however, is quite real. My regular visits to the bookstore have yielded oodles of treasures...even if 95.8% of them have never been read from cover to cover. It's true that after the first blush of acquisition the honeymoon only lasts a day or two, then it's into the slush pile with all the other half-finished but much desired volumes. It is a certainty that I will never get back to them. There are too many new conquests to woo to get hung up on yesterday's news.

My library use is definitely up this year as I try to satisfy that hunger for newer and better mind candy without yielding to the shopping monster. It's revealed the real impetus behind my ownership mentality: my staggering lack of patience. Each book is a lover I yearn to embrace and there's sure to be a temper tantrum if I have to wait. Much easier to plop down a debit card than get in line behind a bunch of undeserving book whores. But this year mine is not the easy road. Add to the list of challenges the ability to appreciate what I have right now, right here before me. Learning to put my name on a waiting list and letting go of it. Getting past a few greasy fingerprints and beach sand in the creases. Realizing that mind candy is all around me and isn't dependent on a book warehouse with an espresso shop. Life is my mind candy, and it's all free.

1 comment:

historicstitcher said...

I, too, share the lust for books. I want to acquire them, hold them, read them, own them... And I, too, have stacks of unread books, set aside for the newer model. I have 30 boxes of books in my garage that have to be passed on, as all the bookshelves in the house are full and I refuse to bring more books in. (I moved last fall, and everything in storage came back to bite me...)

I'm new to the compact, and am struggling with the concept. I'm an acquirer. My mother says I take after her mother, who lived through the Depression. I prefer to label myself a recovering packrat.