It has been a summer of dog-earing, folding down corners of books and projects that will be finished later. In my home, the rooms are scattered with magazine articles and stories I am coming back to, novels I’ve opened and marked, little dog-ears that promise later, soon, maybe in the winter. I have a book of stories open at the table where I eat meals, and I’ve been on the story for days. The story is very good, but I am compelled after I eat to clear the dishes, and go on to something else, even while thinking, why not just sit and finish? It wasn’t always like this. Books were read. A friend once asked, looking at my books, have you really read all of these? Of course, I replied, surprised, thinking, that was why they were shelved. Who would own books they hadn’t read, I thought. That was decades ago. Now my shelves are full of the partially read, the near forgotten, the new ones.
Once I stayed in this town refusing to leave until I finished my first novel. I did, and began another, moved, then spent ten years moving and finishing the second book. A few more moves, fourteen years pass, and a third gets completed. Now I am back where I first finished, fishing for a fourth. Is it among all the dog-eared and bookmarked projects? The books, the magazines, the garden, the Olympics on tv? The laundry, the groceries, the car tune-up?
And what is that noise outside anyway and when will the tomatoes fruit?