… Go I.
I’ll be honest enough to acknowledge that I am less a collector than an accumulator, staying a tiny bit of serotonin and a long-suffering wife from being a hoarder.
Having said that, I’ll say that I came by this honestly. My maternal grandfather’s garage was the stuff of legends, with items ranging from old newspapers that predated the house by a decade to two entire 1958 Ford Prefects in various states of dis/assembly. (During the early-to-mid 80s, my dad tried to put them together into a single working vehicle. It ran for about 100 yards one afternoon, but eventually we wound up selling it to a guy who said he had a car museum in the Smokies. This may in fact have been rather like “the nice farmer who takes in badly situated family dogs,” but I’ll accept the fiction.
Likewise, Dad’s book-a-day jones meant that there was stuff to read in every room in the house, and in areas like the garage and semi-finished basement in Nashville, plenty to spare. Factor in garage sale purchases like the complete five-foot shelf and nearly two decades of Reader’s Digest, and I developed a certain comfort with having books around. (It’s worth noting that while my house was sometimes cluttered, it was never dirty. Before she got really sick, my mom kept the house so clean that you could do brain surgery in the kitchen. In that respect, the odds and ends may have worked to avoid a sense of sterility.) We weren’t exactly minimalists, is what I’m saying, and that’s true of me even now.
When students stop by my office, they’re frequently startled by the shelves of books and CDs there. Really, I don’t see them as superabundant, but on the other hand, the kids really aren’t as accustomed to dealing with physical media as I am. Admittedly, some may find things like the three different CD releases of each of Klaatu’s major-label albums to be a bit much, but the mixes and mastering are different. Likewise for the duplicate copies of various Beatles albums (although I don’t have the mono versions. . . yet). Well, you understand, right? RIGHT?
Likewise with the books. I do have some that probably qualify as collectible — signed copies and such, as well as some that are rather hard to find — but I’m really just as happy to have what would more commonly be called “reader’s copies” that I picked up at one used media place or another. In fact, I may be happier, because those tend to be less expensive.
That way, I can buy even more books. But don’t tell Mrs. M — she already puts up with a lot.