Books and movies, movies and books … and then there’s writing , of course, and painting, and traveling, and …
Oh, there are so many things one wants to do, but from day to day what one actually does is work, take out the trash, do laundry, buy groceries, take the car in for service, and once in a while enjoy a fun evening with friends. Yikes, is my life really that tedious?
Having published my first movie review book (get ready for another plug — TA DA! A Book Full of Movies You May Not Have Seen), I am becoming more active in the online literary community Goodreads. It’s an awesome social networking site for readers and authors alike. Anyway, as I fill my virtual bookshelves with the books I’ve read (dutifully voting one to five stars for how much I enjoyed reading each) and the books I want to read, I’ve started to realize just how many books are out there that I still need to sink my teeth into. For crying out loud, I haven’t even read all the books by just my short list of favorite authors, and there are so many more that get recommended every day, and books stare like mouthwatering candy from the shelves at bookstores and the pages of e-newsletters bearing the missive “This year’s best books!” And then there are the great books I’d love to re-read. I can’t bear it! There’s just not enough time.
On top of this angst, I started having the nagging feeling that I was overlooking some favorite books. So I perused the many bookshelves in the house (not the living room bookshelves, mind you; those were taken hostage several years ago by the burgeoning movie collection and, thus, are off limits to all but the most venerable display-quality volumes, or books having to do with movies, naturally), and I found books that I had actually forgotten I had *gasp*. In fact, I had listed some of these in Goodreads on my “to-read” shelf and even added them to my wish list and actually looked to see if anyone had them to swap (Ooh! The Goodreads book swap program is amazing! People list the books they no longer want, and if you want one, you just pay for shipping — the shipper prints a postage-paid label courtesy of Goodreads — and, in a few days, its yours … incredible and wonderful! I’ve shipped a couple of books already, and its super-duper-easy!), and when I discovered them on my bookshelves … well, I was mortified. And then *swoon* I found two books on my shelves twice, meaning that I had not only forgotten I had them but had purchased another copy and abandoned the first for lost … forever.
My shame was deep and complete. I felt like a mother who had abandoned her children to run off with a rodeo cowboy.
Shaking off my remorse and vowing to be a better mother and dust more often, I realized that this and many other regrets of modern life are simply due to the fact that there is just not enough time, darn it! Since this insight came due to my current immersion in books and the lack of time to read them, I was reminded of my favorite Twilight Zone episode of all time (and I am a big TZ fan who, yes, owns the entire original series), “Time Enough at Last.” Burgess Meredith plays a bank employee who adores reading and prefers books to people. When he hides in the vault one day to finish his lunchtime reading, a catastrophe happens, and he finds himself alone — and surrounded by books from the nearby demolished library. He’s in heaven! Well, until the ironic twist at the end for which the TZ series is famous.
And it’s in this “Be careful what you wish for” irony that I find solace at present from my predicament of not having the time I want to read, watch movies, write, paint, travel, and hang out with friends. After all, the reasons for having that time on one’s hands might be less than pleasant. So, I’ll just keep eking out my morsels of precious hourglass sand, more grateful to have them becasue they are so rare.
Mood: grateful and inspired