My husband was a military brat. Army on his father’s side, Air Force on his mother’s. His Mom was a WAC in WWII, and she stayed in. Of course, in WWII, the Air Force was actually the Army Air Corps, then the US Army Air Force and finally after WWII, the Air Force, so the two agencies kindly posted the family together. Yes, for those who wonder, his mother outranked his father! The point of all of this? The boy moved. Every two years, he, his brothers, and sister were on the road. Pennsylvania, Arizona, Texas, California, you name it, they moved there.
Then the boy grew up and was drafted into the Marines. He got to see Viet Nam. Not a duty post he talks much about. He stayed in, was able to finish his degree at Temple University and was stationed in Key West. While he was there, he was offered a choice of assignments to work on some special projects. He decided to join the Air Force. The boy travelled, Korea, Massachusetts, Turkey, Alabama, New Hampshire, Maine. You get the picture. Then he retired.
We met and married. And we started moving, Florida, Maine, the Keys, central Florida….Really, wouldn’t you think he’d have had enough? Nope. Now we are returning to Maine. No real timeline, but the Florida house is going on the market and when it sells, we pack up home, hearth, cats, and maybe some birds and off we go. (Don’t be concerned, the birds are tropical, a Macaw and a Cockatoo, they wouldn’t survive Maine so we will re-home them. The Conure may be able to come. It will be a decision made by our Florida vet with our Maine vet.)
During all of these marital moves, I’ve managed to get the packing thing down pat. I’ve pared down, decided what’s really important (it’s pricy to move from South Florida to Maine) and learned to say goodbye to some things that I thought would matter. Over the weekend, I was going through my book collection, again. When we lived in South Florida I had a room of bookshelves, and the books were double stacked. This is in the days before Kindle. I pared that down before our move to Maine. Most of the paperbacks went, many of the duplicate books (paper and hardbound) and some books I knew I would never read again. I did the same thing when we moved from Maine to the Keys. Only this time, I was ruthless. Kindle had arrived, so all those books I was carting around in hard back, I bought in the Kindle format. Not really the huge expense it sounds like, a lot were public domain. Those I kept were gifts, autographed books, and craft books.
Craft books? Really? Yes, an entire bookcase of writing craft books. Almost all of the Writer’s Guide series. A ton of how to write a novel in a weekend books, even more about how to get happily published. You get the picture. So, in preparation of this move, I began looking these books over. That’s when it hit me. I’ve been writing a long, long, long time. I bought most of these books before publication was a possibility. Before I found writer’s groups, before I found writer pals, even before I figured out how to do first person research. Going over these books is like a trip down memory lane.
I remember what stories I was writing with each book. Why I opted to buy this book and not another. It was a fun trip. Something else struck me. These books no longer apply, except in what would now be called historical fiction. Oh sure, the poison books and the gun books haven’t changed too much, but the advent of on-line services and internet has changed police and forensic investigations. Even the how to get happily published books are out of date since they don’t use Internet resources for agent searches and social media was meaningless. Indie publication, at the time referred to as vanity press, was strongly discouraged unless you were writing a book for a family reunion.
When I closed the last book on the shelf, I tucked it back into place and knew I would keep them all. These books are my history. They remind me of my process, my hopes, and dreams. Ancestors in paper. They’re all going back to Maine with me.
What about you. Have you moved a lot? How did you cull the take alongs?