Looking over my collection, I discovered that I have only 88 different books in my “Shakespeare” collection (which does NOT include scripts for single titles , or “production books from productions I have worked on), but does include my two copies of the Complete Works. On the other hand, even with a good deal of “trimming” of excessive duplicate copies of various texts while I was moving out of my WCU office, I do have about 50 feet of shelf space devoted to theatre books (which I don’t want to live without) and about 10 shelf-feet of “production books” (most in binders). And, that doesn’t start to mention the miscellaneous fiction I enjoy and have collected over the years. That’s another 30+ shelf-feet, or so. I guess I have a lot of books.
Then there are the VHS tapes (Yes, I can still play them.) approx. 20 shelf-feet of commercially made ones, and the approx. 30 shelf feet of commercial DVDs.
All in all, a LOT of stuff, most of which didn’t get very well organized when we moved in. I had been planning on sorting all of this out a lot more before we moved, but the whole “move thing” came together a good deal faster than I had expected. My thought had been that we’d probably stick around Cullowhee for the better part of a year after we retired, so there would be time to do this. Then, while visiting Maggi here in Omaha, we started to look at houses late that spring just after I retired, found a great house and the owners wanted to close early in July of that year, so we moved towards the end of August. That made it virtually impossible for me to sort out a lot more of the stuff than I had expected to before we moved because I needed to do some painting, and so forth in the house before we moved in. That meant that a lot of moving preparation consisted of just throwing stuff in boxes (unfortunately, not always well marked as to contents) and unloading them onto the shelves when we arrived without a lot of organization.
This state of affairs has been in the back of my mind since we got here, but I hadn’t made a lot of progress in getting them really organized until the last week, or so. The textbooks weren’t (aren’t) in bad shape as I was able to pack most of them with some semblance of order and they went back on the same shelves they had been on. On the other hand, the VHS tapes and DVDs, especially, were quite problematic. I could, generally, find anything I was looking for without too much difficulty, but Bonnie could not make “heads nor tails” of my “system.”
So, I finally decided to do something about it. That’s where the “channeling” of my mother came in, as this was a lot like working in a library. I have spent quite a lot of time in the past few days pulling stuff off of shelves, sorting it, mostly alphabetically by title, and putting it back on the shelves (leaving room for expansion as the collection MAY keep growing some). The biggest challenge has been all of the VHS tapes which we had taped “off of the air” over the years when that was a fairly common practice for “time-shifting.” There were a lot of those, which made the shelves a lot more crowded than they needed to be, although this category is unlikely to grow in the future.
So, while taking them off of the shelves, I had to try to sort out anything which might be worth saving (we had made tapes of a lot of stuff we have since acquired commercial copies of, although we did have a video camera which we used to record various family events, etc., which we’d just as soon not lose). After getting Bonnie to look through what I hadn’t pulled for saving and adding her “must haves,” I started bagging up the excess “old” stuff. There was a lot of that, which helped relieve the crowded storage shelves a fair amount. I guess the “old” stuff will have to go to the dump, as I don’t think they are recyclable.
Then came the process of what librarians call “reading” the shelves. Now, in a library, that, mostly, means just making sure that things are in the proper order, but (in a library) there’s a basic start already, they just need “touch up.” I didn’t have any real order to begin with, so it was a big job and involved more bending, lifting and crawling around on the floor than I had done since we moved. I think our fairly regular attendance at “Aquasize” classes at the local YMCA helped, but I’m still tired. Still, there’s a MUCH improved sense of organization and I think Bonnie will be able to find videos, at least.
The next project, already under way, is copying those “home made” videos to DVD (we have a machine which can do that). That’s already under way, although it has a good distance to go before completion. Still, progress is underway and distracts me to the extent that I can avoid getting my blood pressure up from the distressing situation in the current political scene.
On a different tack, the weather is getting a good deal warmer here, although we COULD still get more snow. I remember the late snows in the mountains were often the worst, so I’m not really prepared to assume that spring is really here, although I would be happy not to have to do more snow shoveling. Even with a (fairly low tech) show blower, it can be a lot of work, and I’d just as soon not have to do it. We’ll see….
Other thoughts… I note that “Pi” Day (3/14) will be soon upon us. Actually, this is a special one as π = 3.14159 ≈ 3.1416 (or 3/14/16), so we won’t get to four decimal places for another 100 years. I think that makes it a bit special. I don’t know how one celebrates Pi Day (do math all day?), but it seems worthy of mention.
Of course, March 14th will be followed by the fifteenth, or the “Ides of March.” Any Shakespeare enthusiast knows that that was the date of Julius Caesar’s assassination by Brutus and his fellow conspirators. That was 2060 years ago, as I figure it. Anyway, it also seems worthy of mention, especially since there are a couple of important primaries that day.
Speaking of primaries, I’m trying to avoid political commentary in these postings, but I would always encourage folks to study the issues, consider the candidates and vote (or caucus). Our political system may not be perfect, bit I think it’s better than any alternative I can think of. It’s important that voters inform themselves and participate. I don’t think folks really have too much right to complain when the “wrong” candidates are chosen or elected if they haven’t bothered to be a part of the selection process. We’ll see how it all comes out.
All things considered, Bonnie and I are both reasonably healthy and we keep busy with a variety of activities and look forward to the coming of spring.
Still, I would encourage anyone reading this, to take a look every so often at the state of his/her book and video collections (assuming that anyone but me doesn’t just have everything in digital format on their computer or iDevice) and make sure that they are in some sort of reasonable order. You never know, you just MAY need to move it on short notice sometime and a little careful “library” work can make things much easier down the line. Take it from one who wasn’t that well prepared, it’s probably worth the effort. Or, maybe I’m still channeling my librarian mother.