Victoria M. Johnson writes both fiction and non-fiction. The Substitute Bride, her short story collection out on Amazon and Smashwords, is Victoria’s debut in the arena of indie publishing. Her other publications include The Doctor’s Dilemma, a novel, and the nonfictional Grant Writing 101. Victoria is a blogger and film buff who writes and directs short films.
First a little background. Books are my weakness. A house we had lived in for 19 years featured an enormous library with about two thousand books—and when we moved it was a substantial task to go through all the books and decide which to donate. I parted company with more than half. Our new house had large bookcases and it didn’t take long to fill them up, in addition to bookcases in my office, and our bedroom bedside tables.
When we were forced to leave that lovely house due to foreclosure, it was a stressful time. We went from 1800 square feet to 800 square feet! Needless to say, I had difficulty culling through my book collection to make donations. But I did it, bringing only about 250 books with us. And I swore that I would only buy eBooks from then on. I haven’t exactly kept that promise, but I did keep the promise to have our bedroom clutter-free. No stacks of books and magazines and journals by the bed. Today I only have three items on my nightstand: a literary journal, a book of poetry, and a chapbook written by a friend.
The chapbook is Wild Place by Erica Goss. I thought it would be a good idea to read a few pages to help me unwind and fall asleep. Wrong. Her poems struck a cord with me. One in particular poked and nudged me and kept me up most of the night until I finally went to my office to write a poem. I don’t read this chapbook before bedtime anymore.
The journal is Quarter After Eight, Vol.18. It’s a quirky journal with unpredictable pieces of short fiction, essays, memoirs, and poetry. This volume gets my creative juices flowing and urges me to run to my office to write. Also not a good choice for reading before bedtime.
The poetry is The Curvature of Blue by Lucille Lang Day. One of her other books, Wild One, is my all-time favorite book of poetry. And that was on my table before this one arrived in the mail. Lucille’s poetry is many things: thought provoking, inspiring, intelligent, and deep. I always enjoy reading it.
Previously I would have stacks of non-fiction books, writer magazines, and blank journals to jot down my thoughts, as well as the single fiction book I was reading at the time, by the bedside. My fiction choices vary from romance to thrillers to short stories—those are all now kept in the office where they belong. I should also mention that we are planning another move, a good one, and I have to pare down even more—no more than two boxes of books. Wish me luck!
Have you ever had to lighten the pulp load? How did you approach the great paring?