I’ve been working to turn my office back into a creative space. Ever since my iMac croaked, it’s become a catch-all for books, paperwork, and other junk we don’t know what to do with around the house. I’d get in there to do my weight lifting, but that’s about it.
That needed to change.
One of the first things I did was clear up some shelf space and put up a bunch of books that had piled up here and there. Here’s what that new section looks like:
I’ve got work in several of those books. It’s not all of them by any stretch, but it’s nice to see a lot of them in one place. It’s been a nice kick in the ass.
The original Restore from Backup were contributor copies from the first printing. I haven’t been to a con in ages, so they’ve been sitting around, waiting for homes. (I need to get a copy of the new edition from Crossroad Press up there with them.)
Next up, Needle includes one of my crime shorts, “With This Bullet.” It’s more like a small anthology than a magazine, and I was in some great company with this one.
It all makes me wonder why I hadn’t put it all together earlier, as shelves like this are important to writers. Sure, part of it is ego, but it’s easy for some of us to forget what we’ve done. I’ve been kicking around the idea of assembling a collection, and I wonder whether I’ve got enough material to pull it off. This is a good reminder that yeah, I probably do.
I’ll never forget the time Brian, Mikey, Coop, and I saw Richard Laymon’s shelves way back in 2001. We were still dumbass rookies at the time, and we thought, goddamn, wouldn’t it be nice to have a setup like that? His output and work ethic was incredible, and really something to aspire to.
Many years later, John joined us and we did it again at Pic’s place. We saw his office and the old PC I’d sent him (I couldn’t believe it was still running), and we had this weird mix of writer’s envy and fanboy enthusiasm as we ran our fingers across the spines of his work, traversing the genres of horror and crime and weird Western. We quoted Self, one of his coolest characters, and marveled at his output.
(Credit where due: by then my man Brian was pretty close to having shelves like that, if he wasn’t already there. Goodonya, brother.)
There’s both fondness and a little pain in the memories of those days in LA and Colorado, but it’s good this simple shelfie brought them to the surface. It reminds me it’s not too late to keep building out that shelf. Life’s done its thing, as it often does, but I’ve gotten a few things squared away and the creative muscles are stretching and reawakening.
Onward I go, one piece at a time.