Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Trashing an Office―Tough Work

By Chester Campbell

We're planning on moving soon, so my wife and I tackled one of the major hurdles to getting prepared―my office. I knew it would be difficult, but I had no idea just how much. First we turned to one of four bookshelves, the metal one with the bent shelves.

There were numerous hardcovers that included several early James Patterson novels, before I tired of his antics, early John Grishams, nearly a full set of P.J.Parish books, some Nelson DeMille thrillers and lots of others by more or less well-known authors. I handed them to my wife, who piled them into boxes. I hated to part with the lot but, pushing 89, the chances of my reading any of them in the future is practically nil.

Some I gave to a granddaughter's husband. Most we turned over to a seventeen-year-old grandson to sell at McKay's for gas money.

As my wife kept needling me to get rid of stuff, I began tossing items willy-nilly. Bookmarks I had ordered too many of, magazines and books and folders on places I had used in early noveks such as the Post Cold War Political Trilogy, old news clippings about signings and other events, posters displayed at bookstores, you name it.

I don't know why I had kept all that stuff, unless I harbored delusions of becoming famous enough to one day donate my "papers" to a university. I still have several boxes containing copies of manuscripts for all of my books. Some are heavily marked-up by editors. I'm still reluctant to trash them, but the closer we get to moving time, the more pressure I'll get to start dumping.

And I still have a box full of various things I saved from my college newspaper days and early stories I wrote on my first daily newspaper job. But, whatcha gonna do?

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