When organisation looks like madness

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As referenced in the last post by Zelda (Our Weird Dog Bailie), I recently decided to organise the book shelves. I love books. But books, now, are more complicated than they once were. They operate as a kind of a cultural indicator – of something like intelligence or superior intellect. When parents say that that their children love books – or love to read – what it seems to really say is that they are intellectually gifted. Bravo to them. So I’m try to distance myself from that – unsuccessfully it seems to me – just to say that books are a big part of my identity. It’s ‘what I do’. Write, read, teach, edit. Almost any job I have had has revolved around books. I read for sanity as well as to satisfy cravings. I was craving, for example, last night, to read a bit from Wolf Hall. Couldn’t find the damn thing of course. Had to make do with something else.

So, these school holidays, it a fit of something like anxiety, but more likely boredom, I thought I’d reorganise – even categorise – my bookshelves. The kids told me that alphabetically would be great (by author). But I went by colour. Why?

Well, because organisation is often madness. It’s a form of superficial control. It says (to me): I want to be in charge of this environment. I want to make sure that the place is safe and that safety is of my doing. What nonsense.

So my organisation what a shout out to the nonsense. Looks pretty. Still can’t find a damn thing – see Wolf Hall above.


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