Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A cause for anxiety

Considering the small amount of time before I graduate, I’ve recently taken to looking towards the future and then collapsing on the couch clutching my chest which is tight with anxiety. This anxiety is not about getting a job (I’ll find one, it may take time, but I’ll get there) or even about having to move interstate or overseas (I’ve never felt any connection to Brisbane, and any excuse to get out of here is a fantastic one), it is purely because of my stuff. Or more precisely, my books.

I'm not connected to the vast majority of things that fill my house, for the most part they're easily replaceable, a bookcase is just a bookcase after all.

 But my books are a completely different matter. Growing up our family employed a "what's mine is yours" policy regarding books, I may have received the latest book by so-and-so for my birthday, but it went into the communal bookshelves and exact ownership was soon forgotten. So when I moved down to Brisbane from Cairns for university I had a collection of my favourites but they really didn't stack up to much. I began to buy new books fill the gaps the books I left in Cairns had made, and soon I needed a bigger bookcase. The range of bookstores in Brisbane are wonderfully varied and one hundred times better than the three chain bookstores we have in Cairns, so I continued to buy and buy and buy. After a year in Brisbane I began to hear about things like the Lifeline Bookfest in South Bank  and I began to add vintage Dickens and Shakespeare novels to my collection and pre-loved Bret Easton Ellis paperbacks and dainty little books written in French that I someday hope to decipher.

Now my bookcase can barely hold the weight of my collection and I’ve resorted to piling books dangerously high in the corners and crooks of my bedroom until I can find the money and space for another huge bookcase to house them.

I have developed an unhealthy relationship with my books. There have been weeks where I’ve had to live purely on mee-gorang noodles and toast because I went a little mad at Borders after a day at uni, or at 3am I felt an absolute pull towards the latest Irvine Welsh and simply had to buy it and several others online. Everything else in my bedroom and house can go, my bed, my TV, my fridge...I couldn’t care less about replacing. But these books are an extension of myself, as shambolic as the books appear to be in my room, they are in fact grouped by genre (a nod to the overly organised life I lead), the titles are as wildly varied as my personality and the books are groomed and maintained in a way I only wish I could be bothered with in my daily life.

So obviously donating them isn’t an option, but do I ship them over to New York, London or Melbourne with me? Do I store them until I have a reasonably permanent address? If I store them is there a chance they’ll grow mouldy and fall apart? What if the storage shed is consumed by flames or mice get in and nibble at the corners? What if I ship them overseas with me and then decide to head back to Australia 6 months later, how much will that cost me? Can I leave them at mum’s place? What if she lends them to friends, I might never see them again!

Ah yes, here comes the anxiety attack now.


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