Tuesday, March 21, 2006


My birthday is in two weeks and I am in agony. The agony comes not from getting another year older. I only care a little about that. No, the agony is because there are wrapped up book-shaped packages multiplying on the bookshelf in the living room. I am not allowed to touch them so I look at them from afar, assessing size and shape, running down my mental booklist, trying to guess what title belongs to the fat one, what to the thin one.   I am also not supposed to read book reviews. Or rather, I can, but just not for books which may be wrapped on the shelf. And I'm not supposed to notice anything about new books by favorite authors of mine.   Of course I can't go to bookstores either. I haven't walked into one since the calendar said February. I'm starting to feel jittery and anxious. I spend more and more of my day fantasizing about going to a bookstore. I can see myself caressing the spines of new books. They practically jump off the shelf into my arms. And I leave with two bursting bags full. No, wait. This is my fantasy so make that four bags. Four giant bags. I feel like I did when I was a kid, waiting through the long, dark night for the sun to peep up over the horizon so I could see what Santa brought me. Or like when I was eight and went to Disneyland for the first time. It was only two hours away, but it was two hours of anticipating, maybe around the next curve in the road I'd be able to see... And I increase the agony by thinking too much. I think about what books I've mentioned I want to read. Are any of those there? I think about books I've remarked on from blogs I've read. Could that one be--? I worry that when I commented on this or that book my Bookman took me seriously. "No, no!" I want to tell him. "I was only kidding. Sure I'd like to read those, but I want these more." I search the murky corners of my mind trying to remember what books I talked about in the last month. Then, after I've gone round and round on that for awhile, I think, what if they aren't books? What if he's playing a big joke on me and this time they are book-shaped boxes with things that are not books inside? We always laugh about giving each other books as presents all the time. What if this year he decided to deviate from the norm? What am I going to do if I get socks instead??? Two more weeks. I have to wait two more weeks. I might have a breakdown. Unless--is there a literary equivalent to Prozac?