Saturday, March 14, 2020
Library at night
Shelving at night can be strange. My colleagues are thinned out for the day and those that remain are on the front lines. I'm alone and unnoticed in the stacks. I feel like I have a lot of time. I feel like I have nowhere to go and nothing to do. The shelving is just another kind of idling. So I open a short book by a Chilean author, Roberto Bolano. It's slow and extraordinarily sad and beautifully written. I read almost half of it and think "What am I doing to myself?" as it quietly breaks down my spirit. And then I shelve it.
I shelve many, many books. It feels like several carts worth, but I suddenly notice almost nothing is gone from my cart. I find myself merely in the "C's" and am quietly amazed. After all this I've barely shelved a thing.
I think from out of nowhere "I have spent most of my adult life working with books. I wish it were ridiculously easy to make a perfect book. I would make one, just one, and put it on the shelf here."
I shelve the rest of my cart. It takes just a few seconds, but that doesn't mean much where there is no beginning and no end.