I do so love synchronicity. Or serendipity. Or simple coincidence, if you prefer. Now this is not to imply causality, oh no. Or fate or destiny working in mysterious ways. No way. It’s simply what two of the terms imply: two or more events where cause-and-effect doesn’t apply but which do occur at one and the same time. Or near enough. Nor is it anything amorphous, like morphic resonance — defined by Rupert Sheldrake as “a process whereby self-organising systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems”, a kind of collective memory palace — because the process that I want to discuss is one that not only has teased a lot of minds over millennia but which also most of us pick up like osmosis from our prevailing culture.
Sari, in a recent post on The View from Sari’s World, touched on an topic that’s been troubling both her and me:
shelving books in an orderly fashion, to “give them a proper shelving” when currently “they are scattered here and there with little rhyme or reason”. Now while her concern is how to order her impressive collection of books on and by and around Shakespeare, mine is the direct legacy of a house move, during which boxes of books collected randomly off shelves by house removers have been equally randomly placed on different shelves as these boxes were opened and emptied. Something like fifteen hundred books dumped shoulder to shoulder with unrelated titles have caused me no end of angst for over a year, so a good sort-out following months of building work and decorating is long overdue.
Before I tackle the exciting but daunting task of organising I’ll have to remove the books from where they currently reside. Two reasons: the ghastly puce colour which has been hiding behind the shelves needs to be obliterated with a nifty shade of white or whiter shade of pale; and I need to start taking stock of where their future homes will be. The existing shelves (which I won’t be changing) were put up I surmise by a previous incumbent of the house, author (and a whole lot else) Jeff Nuttall.* The distance between the shelves varies quite a lot, no doubt to accommodate Nuttall’s own eclectic library which, ten years after his death, still adorned the wooden ledges when we first viewed the house. But my own books when arranged together by author or category are going to find it hard to fit comfortably between some of those ranked boards, a conundrum that I’ll have to address soon enough.
Now, of course, you’ll be curious as to what those authors and categories might be, won’t you? Well, be still, all your beating hearts; that’s for future posts. Naturally I could obliterate all these self-inflicted storage problems by the simple expedient of converting to ebooks, I hear you say. But where would that leave all those naked shelves? How would I impress the handful of visitors with my erudition and eclecticism with just a single e-reader placed strategically on Nuttall’s shelves? And how would I mange without all my familiar friends?
Have any of you — serendipitously — been contemplating or undergoing a re-shelving process? Do you anticipate similar or different problems? Or are you quietly snickering at me behind your copy of Get A Life, You Loser?**
* I remember seeing Jeff Nuttall’s Bomb Culture in a Paladin paperback in the 70s, though never got round to reading it; sometime soon, perhaps. He was an extraordinary character, with many strings to his bow.
** Not a real title, as far as I know. Though perhaps it needs to be written.