Thanks so much to everyone who weighed in on last week's question about the best schedule for my shift to twice-weekly blog posts! Based on your input, I'm going to test out a Monday/Thursday routine and see how that goes. I appreciate all your insights!
Now back to our regularly-scheduled blogging . . .
As an author and the owner of a English Lit degree, I'm required by law to have a minimum of 10 fully-stocked bookshelves in my home. (Sidenote: the Facebook users among you might be interested to see my recent bookshelf refinishing project here).
The problem with having so many books is that you sometimes forget what you own and how its presence might alarm others.
Shortly after we started dating, my gentleman friend began spending more time in my writing office. A photographer and copywriter himself, he's an easy person for me to share creative space with, and I happily made room for him to work nearby.
I was busy writing as he arranged some of his possessions on the bookshelf beside me. Suddenly, he got very quiet.
"Um, what's this?" he asked.
I turned to see him studying this popular title:
My one regret is that I didn't have a camera to capture the "is there something you forgot to mention?" look on his face.
"It's for naming characters in the books I write," I assured him. "Check the bookshelves of every fiction author in America, and I guarantee 90% of them will have one."
Fortunately, he accepted that explanation without question. Unfortunately, I didn't get any smarter about hiding the more delicate titles on my shelves.
My gentleman friend's ex-wife recently dropped off their offspring and needed a few minutes of private discussion with him about kid-related matters. I kept the young'uns occupied in the kitchen with fart jokes while quietly fretting that the office where the grownups conferred looked like a nuclear weapon had been discharged on my desk. Every surface was littered with tax forms, editorial letters, and chewed-up pens. My coaster held a tea mug, a cup of water, and an empty wineglass. I'm pretty sure there was cat puke on the windowsill.
The instant the ex-wife left, I scurried into my office to see whether the mess might warrant a call to the child welfare office. It was then I noticed which title would have been most visible from her vantage-point:
For the record, it's a pretty good book (and yes, it's exactly the sort of fiction you might expect from the title). No one ever said a word about it, which is probably for the best.
My latest round of questionable reading material appeared just a few days ago. A friend who manages a bookstore knows I'm noodling a new story, so she loaned me a title to help me research the heroine's profession.
We were out drinking beer the evening she gave it to me, and when I came home, I tossed it on the kitchen counter and promptly forgot about it.
The next morning, I came down to find the housemates giving me goofy looks. I ignored them and made a beeline for the refrigerator, secretly wondering how I'd drunkenly embarrassed myself the night before.
"So, uh . . . congratulations?" one of them said.
I turned with a well-masked look of alarm. "For what?"
"When's the wedding?"
I stared in horror, my mind doing a slow replay of the previous evening's events. To the best of my recollection, no one had gotten down on one knee in front of me (which is a damn shame, but I digress).
Finally, the other housemate pointed at the book:
Relief flooded my body. "Oh, that. It's research."
They grinned. "Uh-huh. Right."
I'm still not sure they believe me, but maybe that's best. Maybe I'll ask whether they'd prefer wearing fuchsia or lavender bridesmaids dresses.
Is there anything on your bookshelves that would be alarming to others? Please share!
I'll be looking for a copy of How to Dismember Bodies and Get Away With It. Might as well give the housemates something else to ponder.