10 points for anyone who gets the title reference. Barbs and I have spent much of our lives as rolling stones. We went where the work was, and later, when I could take work with me, where the best school for the kids was. And then… to Australia, where we had to start again basically from scratch, with things so tight we had to ration slices of bread, and it was only my hunter-gatherer skills (in a new place, where I knew nothing) and very inept gardening that kept us fed after the rent was paid. All the aspects of being a midlist trad author (doing all the checking on listings, providing all the publicity, pushing and publicizing the book, getting reviews etc. had had to be left to the people who get 90% + of the income for it. Of course – as usual – they did nothing barring botch a few things and mess about with my royalties. So things were pretty desperate… But we kept on. Writing, renting and moving, living frugally and saving until we could get a place of our own again.
Moving. Packing, carrying. I’m sick of it.
This was supposed to be my last ever move before I go to the six foot one, where you don’t have to take much furniture. Unfortunately, it all happened about six- eight months earlier than planned, and we’ve been trying to cram 6-8 months into six weeks, including the building work.
We can’t get it done. Despite herculean effort, we’re going to have to move and move again, when it is done. Most of our stuff is going into containers or sheds and we’ll be living a minimalist life in the sort of space an urban apartment has until I am done. I’m sure it will be good for me. It’s just a tough on my old dog and cat… and the fact that my fishing, diving and hunting gear would fill two apartments.
It still means we have to pack and of course move. Even if my budget stretched to movers (and my back would like it) I’m too Scots to enjoy being prodigal with my money. Any movers would have to come from away, meaning you’d be a few thousand down getting them here.
So: we pack. It’s always a time of de-cluttering, of getting rid of things that even his frugalness (me) can see no sense in keeping. My wife has a tough time living with it, and throws things away (which I always remember, later).
And in our case, packing ALWAYS is around 50% books. We weed every time. And still… there’s a lot of them.
It always takes longer than anything else, per box, because I am incapable of just packing them without looking.
There are a lot of old friends, a lot of ‘I’d forgotten that I had that’. A lot of ‘I must read that again.’ And, um, a fair bit of ‘last time I looked at this was last time we moved. Just why am I keeping it?’
It’s a tough question without easy answers. Some are books I feel I really ought to keep because of reasons that have nothing to do with reading (reference books, first editions of a few treasures, books signed by long dead authors… that I still cherish for their kindness.) but mostly it’s books I love, and at least plan to re-read (Oddly I have a lot of Hugo and/or Nebula winners or finalists – but I don’t think one from the last decade or so. I’ve read a few, and culled them).
But part of this is that this is my mixed moss. These stories are what shaped the writer I am. I carry them on to keep building on those strong foundations.
So: Adams to Zelazny… I owe you guys. I wish I could write as well.