September 7, 2010 § 9 Comments

“Unshelving” is a little like “unnerving” although “unshelving” is  a verb and “unnerving” is an adverb. In this case, the former equals the latter. I’m unshelving.
I’m taking all the TBR books off the bookshelves near my writing desk. Yes, all of them. All my little friends, all my little look-forward-tos.
Can I do it? Can this TBR book collecting/reading addict clear her shelves?
I’m putting them elsewhere, even in a shopping bag in my closet if I have to.
I am unblocking my writing chi.

I am putting my writing notes, works in progress, pens, pencils, etc. on the bookshelves in place of all those books, instead of crapping up my desk, my writing space.
I have entirely cleared my desk except for this laptop.
The next thing that lands on it will have to be pen and paper, if anything, used in working on my writing.

Enough with being surrounded by other writers’ stuff.
It is not working for me.
Time to fill the shelves with my own work, one way or another.

I’m just taking  a break in the action before running downstairs to find some bags to render order out of this book spillage mess. 
And time to stop boring you with “I” “I” “I.”
Although Elizabeth Gilbert got away with it in EPL.
I recind that.
I just finished the book the other night.
Here is my review, even though I know most of you read it already or have perhaps “talked” it and gone on to see the movie.

OH”S REVIEW ON EAT PRAY LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert:
First 40 pages: “ok, fine. I get it. You’re in pain.”

Page 41 (or so): “Can we move on now?”

Page 42 or thereabouts: “OK, I”ll keep reading this because the book was a gift. And that, in itself, is reason enough to continue. Out of some kind of demented ’50s Donna Reed etiquette – I must enjoy this book because someone was thoughtful enough to give it to me.”

After Italy section:  “Gilbert can write, self-indulgent though she may be. But hey, food, as in eating her way around Italy, is therapy.”

During India section: “The entire section is saved by the character “Richard from Texas” who nicknames our narrator “Groceries.” And for some reason, this turns everything around for me. I am reading the book in any spare moment.”

End of India section: “Well, I’m curious. About what happens in Indonesia. As was predicted to happen. Will it? And btw, I’ve learned several things along the way and have grown accustomed and even very fond of Gilbert’s voice. And, she can write well. Really well.”

In the Bali/Indonesia section: “I’m learning a lot about the people and feel that it’s true. I feel like she’s telling the truth. And I continue to get little insights, things that make me think about my own life, and other people’s lives. And I love hearing about the culture. There’s plenty here. She takes her time in the telling and there’s just so much here.” (Where does Gilbert get her money, though? What is she living on?)

End of Indonesia section: “Yes, I will read her next book. No, not like ‘gobble it up’ or anything. I just…really liked this one. I am curious about the next. I mean, really, does she honestly move to New Jersey? Gotta know. Looking forward to it.”

Score: Keeper!


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§ 9 Responses to Unshelving…

  • ds says:

    Ha ha! Love your review; it is so close to how I felt when reading the book (also thanks to a friend). Except her description of Rome made me actually want to go there…As for the money, remember she wrote for several magazines before she left & nailed a contract with one of the foodie pubs for little articles, which paid her way rather nicely. And yeah, she did move to New Jersey…really. Honestly.

    Good luck with the “unshelving.” I admire you for that. Plus, it’s great feng shui.

  • shoreacres says:

    I’ve not read a word Gilbert has written, but about once every two weeks I listen to one of her TED talks. It was sent to me by a friend, and I now consider her one of my bestest friends ever because she did so. Now, I recommend it to you – it would be good to listen to while un-shelving!

    Elizabeth Gilbert on creativity and writing

  • Ruth says:

    Like Linda, I’ve been very impressed with her TED video. I haven’t read the book. Inge and I were going to see the movie, but we ditched. I liked your review! That’s a helpful little format you have there. It makes me think she intentionally wanted the reader to get annoyed with her self absorption at the outset, to lead into the more meaningful stuff later. But not having read it, I can’t say.

    I admire your unshelving too. Amazing how hard it is to just move those things away, as if we won’t be able to find them again.

  • jeanie says:

    Reading you backwards! First of all — BRAVO UNSHELVING! I so need to do this on my art table. Stop looking at all the cool technique articles and DO SOMETHING. And it wouldn’t kill me to do it at my computer station, either!

    Now, EPL — I felt much the same as you. Although I really did LOVE the Italy section — all that food and she gained weight and I could so relate. Didn’t much like India — in fact, I also got the book as a gift and if it hadn’t been (I understand your point about the obligation) I would have ditched it then. I loved Richard from Texas, but it just sort of slowed down there. But by Bali, I was hooked. And I agree — she’s one heck of a writer. I’ve been working on my feedback of the movie for Chopsticks — probably up in a couple of days. Check it out! And consider entering my book drawing over there, too!

  • Bree says:

    Oh I loved this book too. My thoughts on it are very similar to yours. I loved Italy until I got to India. Then India became my favorite. Bali was ok but not as moving for me as India. Italy has made me hungry and every time I think about it I want to eat pizza, pasta, bread, cheese, something Italian. Did you see the movie?

  • Bree says:

    I was also so excited to read her next book. Tried it, couldn’t finish it. My one friend loved parts but not all and my other friend thought whole book was just ok. It is far more research based versus Liz’s life based.

  • mandy says:

    I wasn’t a huge fan of Eat, Pray, Love. But as the commenter above said — her TED talk is definitely worth watching.

  • oh says:

    Mandy – Since several of you have mentioned it, I”m about to tune in to Gilbert’s TED talk. Yup, very curious. And have foolishly just enjoyed an evening cup of coffee, so bedtime is a LONG way off!

    Bree – Always good to hear what others think of a book and i have to say that I was surprised I liked this one, too. Glad you did. The “three parts” were a great structure. And then I saw the movie two nights ago. Now I feel kinda complete about her whole project.

    DS – Well, it appears the “unshelving” has worked to a degree! I have bags of books in two of our closets, but that’s ok. The “unblocking” has begun and I’ve finished a short story – at last! Let’s see what’s next!

    Jeanie – Aha! You liked EPL, too. You know, it was rather a long book, too. I mean, there’s a lot of writing in there.
    So, I have to report that clearing my bookshelves and writing table has helped immensely. I am also on a tear about uboxiing and unfiling things – I have so much stuff “stashed away” that I forget about it! So the empty bookshelves are now holding “tools” and “things to use and work with” such as colored pencils, stacks of paper and journals to be filled.
    It feels good.

    Ruth – Well, I did go to the movie – I had a free pass and couldn’t say no. I’m glad I did. However, it would make a good rental, too, if you ever felt like watching it. Different than the book in some ways, it carries the same message, with a whole lot of footage dedicated to Julia Roberts’ facial expression.
    But ya gotta like her.
    And Javier!

    Linda –

  • oh says:

    Linda! something zigged when it should have zagged here as I was typing my response to your comment!! Anyway, thanks, as always for the tip on the TED by Ms. G. As mentioned above, I’m gonna take a look in a minute; and it just might be the perfect thing to tune into at work during lunch hour tomorrow, too, for a breath of fresh air!
    You always find the coolest things that connect – many thanks!

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