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Mixed Moss

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.

Image by DesignerColeman from Pixabay

15 Comments
  1. Paul Cordes #

    I have found over the years that three moves is the equivalent of a major fire….having done both.

    April 29, 2019
  2. Sounds harsh. Feel for you.

    April 29, 2019
  3. Adams and Zelazny, Dave? Aim higher, you’re better than them already.

    Moving is the task from Hell, my condolences. I’ve moved so many fricking times over the years, I can’t even count.

    Moving offices is much better though, I must say. I moved one of our offices on Saturday, dumped the whole works into my pickup truck and hauled it to the Exciting New Location!! (TM). Its really exciting because I just reduced my rent load. Yay!

    Best part, no boxes of books to sort. ~:)

    Worst part, it was just me, having to get creative with the ratchet straps and the moving dollies as usual. My aching hindquarters. ~:(

    But its nice to know that I’ve still got it, crippled old bastard that I am.

    April 29, 2019
    • Adams _TO_ Zelazny. A to Z.:-) I’m one of the sort who keeps his books in alphabetic order

      April 29, 2019
      • I’d like to keep all my books in order like that, but I’m far too lazy. Plus, the Universe will decree I must move again as soon as the last book goes on the shelf.

        April 29, 2019
  4. We last moved 34 years ago. It’s not so much the roots as the thought of packing this all up that makes it unlikely we’ll ever move again. Well, until it’s time for the nursing home or some such.

    Fortunately we really like this house, and we’ve sold off the adjacent land, so we’re down to what a pair of old codgers can maintain.

    April 29, 2019
  5. I used to move every 18 months. My interior decor was described as “early monastic” – desk, chair, books, bed, kitchen stuff.

    April 29, 2019
  6. I’m still recovering from moving last year. And eighteen months before that. And four years before that. It’s exactly like having been through a fire. I still reach into drawers for things I vividly remember holding, then rifling through all the drawers, and not finding it, before remembering that was three-four years and a couple of moves back, and it’s gone.

    Sometimes living in a place is more like camping. Really really long camping. It’s stressful, even if you think it shouldn’t be. Account for that, and do what you can to alleviate it. Find a way to laugh.

    April 29, 2019
    • Camping is precisely it. An endless succession of rented campsites, none of them mine.

      When I bought my first house in Arizona I spent months renovating it to get it exactly the way I wanted. I laid a saltio-tile floor with the little corner tile inserts, I re-did drywall and plumbing, and even planted little bushes and grass. Didn’t live there very long as it turned out, but by God it was mine.

      April 29, 2019
    • Mary #

      Except that sometimes it reappears, months or even years later.

      April 29, 2019
  7. Ah, yes. “Mixed Moss, by A Rolling Stone”. Captain Flint would be proud of you!

    Sorry to hear of the delays, alarums and excursions. Hope all works out for you in the end.

    April 29, 2019
    • Bravo! Let’s tip the rest of them the black spot! 😉

      April 30, 2019
  8. I’d rather take an ass-whipping than move.

    April 30, 2019
  9. Shame I didn’t live closer; culled books would be given a new home.

    And one day, ONE DAY… we’ll be able to fully unpack. When we move that one last time into our Forever Home.

    April 30, 2019
  10. mrsizer #

    My first move was done with a taxicab. My most recent move was done in the largest truck you can rent (which I smashed into a few things; it really should have required a CDL). That was nearly 20 years ago. This house is much bigger than the previous. It’s now full. I want to never move again. We have stop ($50K drop) and limit ($1M) bounds on the Zillow price; should either be exceeded, we’re selling.

    A used book store may get a nice present if I should have to. I haven’t bought a paper book in ages. They look pretty in my office (covering an entire wall), but I haven’t read any of them in ages, either.

    May 1, 2019

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