Okay. I am guilty. I confess. I have done something. I have done something awful and I am suffering as the result. I have begun books and not finished them and now they are sitting on my shelf, glaring, giving me the stink eye, their inky pages squirming, screaming “read me!” and “Why, Em, why did you abandon us?!” and I’m sitting on the carpet in my living room with my head in my hands looking at these dear friends of mine, a heart heavy with sorrow, thinking to myself “I tried! I really did, it’s not you! It’s me. I have commitment issues. I’m sorry, I really am!” But still, I’ve broken these poor books’ hearts. I have left them in the dust. I’ve left them unclosed. They can’t find closure and we all know how painful that can be. So I admit, I’m guilty. Charge me. Lock me in a library, handcuff me to a chair, leave me with these piles of unfinished books. I’ll read them, I swear, because I can’t bare this anymore. The guilt is eating me alive. I can’t fall in love again with all this baggage weighing me down.
I’m looking at my shelf and there’s one book who’s particularly mad at me. Middlesex, I’m sorry! Jeffrey Eugenides, you are amazing! A writer of immense talent. I don’t know what happened. I was so enthralled. I read late into the night and then, as our relationship grew I panicked and tossed the book aside, found myself a short fling of a novella and moved on, rebounded. But I’ve never gotten over you. I still think about you and currently, my relationships with other books are suffering, a result of our unfinished business. So I think we should talk. You know, I’ll take you out for coffee, read the end of you, we’ll work things out. Promise.
I wish I knew what my problem was. Every time I look at one of my books, the poor soul, its ending unknown to me, my heart sinks a little. I feel disappointed in myself. I feel that inevitable sense of failure, the kind that prods at you until you’re bleeding from the soul out. But am I alone? There’s just so many types and they’re all enticing in different ways. They whisper to me, promise me things. Oh, what shall I do? There are some I want to bring to bed, others for a nice evening by the lake. Every once in a while I find the book that offers it all, the one who will sit with me near the river, listen to the rushing sound of mountain water, who will make me laugh, comfort me in my sadness, keep me in the bath until the water turns tepid. But these are a rare breed. A special connection is required. And now, well, we’re just faced with so much. I can add anyone to my Amazon shopping cart, their covers and shiny descriptions enough to press that purchase button. Is a cover reason enough to welcome such an item into my home? I don’t know! Please, someone help. I’m conflicted.
And I admit, I’ve had affairs. I’ve put one book aside to unite with another, returning to the original only after satisfying some immediate and intense craving. I’m shameful. I know. But I’m pouring my heart out here so don’t judge. The internet’s supposed to be a safe zone right? What kind of abominable creature would judge another from behind a screen? Anyways, I needed to come clean. I feel much better now. In fact, I finished a book this morning and can return it to the library free of guilt.