Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Freshly Haunted Office for 2016

My office space in Monte Vista is over three months old and I’ve yet to get settled. I have the same shelving I had at the last place, but the feeling here is different. Even the books aren’t arranged the same.

Time and Halloween wait for no one, though, so we have to take...stabs (heh) at bringing the spirit of the season into my holy reader’s/writer’s sanctuary. We’ll begin with the cheapie Sam’s Club bookshelf seen at right, and work our way around the room.

Individual books have come and gone, but the basic concepts regarding the content of the shelves remain. The top shelf is still comprised of those first books I bought with my own money as a grade-schooler, with other volumes honoring my favorite early reading experiences. (Yes, I favor Stephen R. Donaldson’s first Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever for inspiration over Tolkien. Fight me.)

The second shelf expands on those early experiences, including one of my more indispensable volumes I wish I’d had as a younger man, namely, the precise scores to all The Beatles’ songs. Also included are my favorite collection of Hunter Thompson essays in the original Rolling Stone Press hardcover, along with a Vonnegut omnibus, almost all of my all-time favorite novels, my favorite book by Hemingway, my favorite miscellaneous short story collection....

Of course, I’ve put copies of my own books in between. The sight of them from across the room makes me sit up straighter in my chair.

Uncle Harlan gets his own shelf, as always. The papier-mache ghost in the middle was constructed by my wife while on the night shift sometime in the early 1990s. The stack of glowing skulls to the left are a 2016 purchase. I have no idea where vampire Abe Simpson came from. We have a lot of stuff like that. The Burlap Bunny by the skulls is from my wife’s family, going way back to nobody knows.

The decorations as a whole peter out by the Great Wall of Bukowski below, and are absent entirely from the bottom row with its novel galleys and coffee table books.

There is an overflow shelf, incidentally, for all the Bukowski and Harlan Ellison that didn’t fit, along with some more Hemingway, Norman Mailer, and one of Bukowski’s favorite novelists, John Fante.

Back to regularly scheduled Halloween decor, already in progress. My reading/review corner on the west wing of the office looks good lit up. The Jack in the Hat shows very well.

As does the dormer area where my desk is. Unfortunately, the lights hanging here began blinking out of nowhere one night—they hadn’t for weeks of use beforehand—before burning out entirely. It’s just as well. Those were old-school lights, and I intend to replace everything with LEDs as we go.

These characters have my back. The married couple in the right background are another new addition. My wife has been very good about bringing in some new to mix with the old. That cauldron at right has proved too handy for holding my Sharpies and is in imminent danger of becoming a permanent fixture.

You may recognize the Moon-Faced Rogue from my 2013 post. He used to live on one of the Sam’s Club bookshelves.

Again, more newcomers. As is appropriate to things Halloween, they twitch uncomfortably in direct sunlight. The click-click-click of their swinging provides a rhythm for my staccato typing to follow.

We close with the three-string concatenation of orange lights in that difficult-to-resolve east wing of my office. They’re the best lighting that dark, blighted end has seen in a while. My wife has offered to affix the the adhesive-backed plastic hooks for string of LEDs, white, orange, or Christmassy to be run through. I’m thinking, heck, why not?

Happy Halloween to you and yours.