Out of Control

I was supposed to go into the library and get two books: Donald Gallo’s Speaking for Ourselves and Jerry M. Weiss’ From Writers to Students: The Pleasures and Pains of Writing.

What do I do?

I go to the writing section (OK, I had to go to this section because that’s where one of the books was). I am so overwhelmed I have to sit down on the floor. At one point I take off my shoes and get comfortable while I stare up at the books. I talk to myself about not being compulsive. I remind myself that I just stumbled into this library with a bag full of books, and I promised I would leave with a lighter bag. I look up at the stacks. How do I possibly get out of here without taking some of you with me, I ask. The spines seem to wink at me.

I don’t want this problem. I remind myself that I have books all over my room that are waiting for me.

I have no self-restraint. I stand up (OK, not before I make sure there is nothing on the bottom shelves that I want to take home with me). It’s the only way I can move on and get the books I’ve really come for. I look at each spine, discarding the ones I either already read or own. I look on both sides of the shelves, making sure I do not miss a book related to authorship. When I find myself peering at Literary Criticism to my left or Editing Twentieth Century Texts to the right, I get excited but pull my eyes back to center and decide that the least I can do is limit myself to one topic.

This is not good a voice inside my head says, but I ignore it. That’s when things get crazy: Henson, yes, throw him in your bag. There’s a new one put that in, too. This one is about academic writing. You could use some help with that. On and on I go until the bag is so heavy I cannot carry it. I mumble and try to talk myself into taking some of the books out of the bag so I can fit the two I came for in, but it doesn’t work.

I convince myself that there is some spiritual reason why I am standing in this library, at this moment, with these particular books, behind two nursing students (Didn’t exams end already?) with a suitcase full of books they are returning. I can’t help but wonder, if I am so spiritually guided, why didn’t a tiny voice tell me to bring a suitcase of my own?