I got the paperback shelves up Friday, a row of Bradbury, a row of writing books — Pressfield and the like — my most cherished science fiction paperbacks, and a top shelf of classics. The office is coming into shape, but a bunch of stuff remains in boxes and may not be displayed in the new space.
It’s kind of daunting to see how much stuff I still have in boxes and bins while the nooks and crannies of this supposedly larger room appear to be almost full. I have accumulated much in almost 70 years — that’s a long time, so I guess I should not be so surprised.
I have three clocks strategically placed around the room, so I can always see what time it is from whichever of the three chairs I’m inhabiting. “What time is it” has always been an important question in my work; the date, not so much, and so the calendars are not as prominently displayed. The music system is in the center of the bookcases; it can be tucked behind doors, but I love to hear and listen to music, so why would I hide it?
The room is a museum of where I have been, a collection of influences, a place to explore and reminisce — what can I build and create from these resources at my fingertips. They are the finished products of hundreds (thousands) of other creative minds, and they are the fuel for my own journey, that meandering quest here and there that I hope will lead me to, if I may, strange new worlds and new civilizations, or at least to a little something that will encourage, entertain and perhaps enlighten other folks along the way.
This is my “attic” — I know what Bradbury meant when he looked around his cluttered office and asked, “Well then, right now, what shall it be? Out of all this, what shall I choose to make a story?”
I’m thankful for a world where I’m free to explore and accumulate and learn and thrive in my way. I am not a wealthy man but some days, when I look around at all the neat stuff at my fingertips, I feel like “the richest man in Bedford Falls.”
Well then, right now, what shall it be?