I feel like I’ve spent the summer waiting. Waiting for word on my next novel’s fate, waiting for a buyer to fall in love with our house, waiting for three nieces to be born, waiting to learn whether or not I’ll finally be summoned for jury duty, waiting to see what horror KFC will next unveil on its menu …
I know what you’re thinking. Trying to sell a house? In this market? Here’s what happened: we read the articles online about how this is the worst possible time to try and sell a house, the ball is in the buyer’s court, you’d have an easier time getting that horrid, mouthbreathing "Fresh water, just for you!" Filtrete ad out of your head than selling a home now, and we were like, “We’re in!”
Of course I’ve followed the realtor’s advice about hiding family photos, organizing clutter, and even baking cookies before showings. But if he told me to pack away my books, I think I’d have to punch him.
After you chop your way through my flowerbeds with a machete, the next big thing a potential buyer might comment on would be my bookshelves. They’re everywhere, and they’re ready to burst.
Okay, the bookshelf comment might come AFTER they recoil in horror at the upstairs bathroom layout, but still. It will come.
(*Note to self: hide the *naughty* books as soon as you post this entry.)
Many of my books have yet to make it to the shelves because I’ve just purchased them, and they are stacked like presents to myself all over the house:
There’s Allison Winn Scotch’s latest, The One That I Want, sandwiched between Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch and Little Women. The stack next to that includes our own Sarah Pekkanen’s debut The Opposite of Me, Julie Buxbaum’s After You, Wally Lamb’s latest The Hour I First Believed, and Save the Cat, which is actually about screenwriting, purchased during my "Hey, I think I'll write a screenplay!" phase.
In the spare room, you’ll find The Passage by Justin Cronin beneath Where Did You Get This Number? by Sloane Crosley. Loved it, by the way. Particularly the last essay: “From the Back of a Truck.” So good it made me want to experience a broken heart all over again just so I could write about it. Or maybe I’ll write about how I tried to write as well as Sloane Crosley and ended up just openly weeping while watching Animal Hoarders and eating mayo from the jar with one finger.
In a basket in the upstairs reading nook (some people would call it ‘the landing,’ or ‘a waste of space’), I’ve tucked Jane Goodall’s Hope for Animals and Their World next to Jennifer Belle’s Seven Year Bitch. I’m reading that during my next long car ride. Oh, how I pity people who get nauseous when they attempt to read in the car! Or maybe I’ll save it for jury duty in two weeks, because I know it will make me laugh out loud, and if you can’t laugh out loud in front of 11 of your peers in a courthouse during a trial recess, where can you laugh out loud?
I also just finished This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. I want to hate him, but I can’t. Because he has this … way with similes. I hope that if I’m selected for jury duty the defendant is not a skilled crafter of metaphors, because it could seriously cloud my judgment.
Also, there is this: I just completed two book proposals and learned my editor left for a new publishing house, so I might have even more time to plow through the stacks of my unread books while I await the verdict on my immediate fate. What’s on deck? I think I’ll make it A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews. It’s also set in the 70’s, so I’m totally in. Excommunication? Mennonites? Angst? Coming-of-age? Warped humor? That should be the perfect distraction. While I wait.
Jess Riley is the author of Driving Sideways. Which is a novel about a road trip. Not waiting.