Confession of a Book Hoarder

I have a confession.

I am a book hoarder. No apologies, no excuses. I love books and bookstores. My home library shows just how much.

DSC_0275Recently I’ve reorganized my office space, which includes my library. DSC_0282During that process I discovered a few things about myself. Some I’ve known and some, not so much.

One of the most amazing things I learned was that I had three thesaurus’ and no dictionary on my shelves. I know I can simply use the built-in software in my writing program or I can Google it. Sometimes it is easier and faster to pick up a book and find the word myself. There are both limitations and advantages in both procedures.

Knowing I couldn’t find a dictionary on my shelf, I went to the local bookstore and found one. This is the one I purchased: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=0425228622] The Oxford New Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus. This is a small combined dictionary and thesaurus. More space for other books you know.

Once the reorganization occurred I actually found a small dictionary – it was just on the wrong shelf. The dictionary and thesaurus’ have now made it to the donate pile. It’s not very big.  I seem to have a difficult time letting go of books.

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Another thing I discovered as we have already seen, I have a bad habit of purchasing books more than one. I have found a few duplicates among my collection. The duplicates have also made it to the donate pile.

I have a lot of books and I am okay with that. I don’t intend to change my behavior any time soon. The seduction and promise of bookstores is too much for me to say no to. I will continue to go into bookstores and come out with treasures. Hopefully I will even read some of them.

Writing in Community

typewriter-472849_1280Writing is a solitary pursuit. At least that’s what I’ve always believed. I never realized just how important community could be to the pursuit of a writing life. Not until recently that is.

Over the weekend while attending a writing class at a local arts school and met a fellow writer. We connected through our mutual love of writing and made plans to attend a writing group.

The experience made me realize just how important community is for writers. So much of the word we do is done alone yet there is much growth in meeting and joining in community with other writers. There are lots of ways to do this:

  • Join an online community. Here are a few that I’ve checked out:
  • Find a writing group in your community even if there isn’t one nearby. I drive about an hour each way 2x per month for a group that meets my need for support and feedback. It also gives me a chance to connect to other writers.
    • The Writer magazine has a list of writing groups broken down by genre – http://www.writermag.com/
    • Local Libraries or bookstores often know about writers groups in the area
    • The local college may have their own groups
  • Take a class
    • Local college
    • Arts councils
    • Libraries
    • Local magazines often have advertisements.
  •  Conferences
    • Arts councils
    • Search engines
    • Libraries often have flyers posted for these

Find a friend and meet up once or twice per month – just to talk about writing and maybe even show some work

There are many ways to connect with other writers. If one doesn’t work, try another one. You may find your writing enriched by these connections. The challenge is to be brave and step out of your comfort zone. You will be glad you did.

Birthdays are for Celebrating!

happy-birthday-72160_640Often times birthdays are perceived as negative. Growing older is a bad thing. We rail against aging and yet its inevitable. What is not is our attitude toward aging. There are different ways to look at birthdays. My birthday is soon and for the past several years I have used my birthday as a kind of check in with my life. A question I believe each person must ask themselves is where do I want to be next year?

Year in Review

When I look back over my year I try to look honestly at all areas, emotional, physical, spiritual, cognitive, and social. Sometimes these categories interchange and over lap. Sometimes there is more of a focus on one or another as needed. This is how my year has looked.

Emotional

I tend to look at things as all good or bad. This tends to cause complications and difficulties in my life Getting a promotion and living with adult children has challenged my thinking. Though I am not sure I will ever be completely free of this thought process, I have made success this past year so that react less harshly in the light of this thinking. Small steps.

Physical

Up until May of this year, I would run 30 minutes a day, 3X per week. As I look back over my year, find that this isn’t a success because I didn’t continue the habit. Part of my review of the year is to see what I need to change for the next year. So my goal is to begin by walking several days per week as soon as the snow and cold are gone.

Spiritual

I have made great spiritual growth in the questions I have of the universe. Two habits that help are journaling every day and reading. A lot.

Cognitive

Though I haven’t completed any classes in this time period, my other categories have helped the cognitive areas. I try to learn something new every day.

Social

A few years ago I connected with a group of women whom I feel are my closest friends. This past year was spent deepening those relationships and dealing with the ups and downs that come with them. As I look back I am content with where my social life is. I have also discovered, more like had confirmed my need for alone time. Struggling to find the balance is my goal for the next year.

gift-553139_640Celebrate!

Birthdays are meant to be celebrated and enjoyed. Too often we prefer to skip over the day and don’t want to make a big deal of it. We don’t like the reminders of our age nor do we want to get old. Often there is an expectation of others when it comes to our birthdays. Significant others, siblings, parents, and children are expected to “do something” for our birthdays even when we say we don’t want anything. This can lead to hurt feelings and disappointment. Not to mention the reinforcement of the belief that birthdays are more trouble than they are worth.

I decided many years ago that I wouldn’t be disappointed in my birthday ever again. That was the year that I didn’t get a cake. Cake is a rule for birthday’s. I began taking matters into my own hands.

I give myself a birthday present and plan my own celebration. Sometimes it is simply dinner (with cake) and a present. Last year it was a wall of bookshelves for my library. I have discovered that my family is often relieved with this arrangement. Some may say that this lets them off the hook and enables them to not put any thought into birthday celebrations. Probably. Here is my argument. Who knows me better than me? Who is the one who has to deal with the disappointed and hurt feelings? I refuse to feel bad. Its my birthday after all.

This year I am taking a writing class for my birthday. Yes I will be alone for my birthday. I am okay with that too. I have included my husband by getting a hotel room and we will have a nice dinner. But my birthday will be for me.

Challenge

I encourage each and every one of you to look back, whether you do it on your birthday, near the beginning of the year or tomorrow. Look over the past year and see what you accomplished and where you’d like to improve.

Most of all, enjoy the birthday cake of your choosing and learn to celebrate you.