Coyote kept his voice casual but he was fooling no one.
“What do you mean?” I matched his tone. No point falling into his trap by getting defensive. “I’m keeping up.”
“Keeping up … how, exactly?” He was helping me sort books. I was getting rid of a bookshelf. Spring cleaning. It had to be done. We had Loreena Mckennitt playing in the background to keep our spirits up.
“I always have writing to give to Stephen. Every Tuesday, more writing.” The pile of books to give away was way too big. I started over.
“New writing?” He asked. I don’t think he was paying any attention to titles. He was just tossing books into the giveaway pile.
“Well, some of it is new. But we had to go back to the beginning and do some changes. Both of us had to do that. We agreed. He’s ok with it.” Now I was getting defensive. I could feel it.
“So what if he is ok with it? I think you are trying to shift responsibility, that’s what I think.” All I could hear from his side of the room were the little thuds as books hit the piles.
“What are you getting rid of?” I accused. “Sounds like you are giving away my whole library.”
“Classics. You can always get those again if you must,” he said. “Also anything that has to do with something you started a while back and are no longer interested in. And anthologies. No one needs anthologies. No one ever reads them.”
“What, exactly, are you keeping?!”
“Books that actually mean something to you. There,” he waved a paw toward a pile. “You can thank me later. Now about the writing you are giving to Stephen …”
“If I give him too much to read now he will have a collapse.” That was true, anyway. “He might quit writing his own novel. I can’t be responsible for that. I’ll give him more when he comes back from his trip … He’s going to the town in my story!” I put an artificially excited tone into my voice, trying to decoy Coyote. Things like that just never work.
“You can write as much as you want but give him something manageable. One section. Ten pages. That would do it. Hold all the rest until he has time.”
I sulked in silence, thinking over all the things I was accomplishing. Didn’t Coyote think they were important?
“Sure they are,” he said. (How does he do that?)
“Really.” he said, looking at me from behind an alarmingly high pile of books. “Besides, they are the things you want to do. So do them. Just don’t use one of them as an excuse not to do another.”
“OK,” I said. He was right.
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
I pulled three novels out of the give-away pile. The library isn’t accepting donations again until after the sale. No point in being hasty.
Tompkins County Public Library Spring 2012 Sale dates are May 5-7, 12-14, and 19-22.
Lyrics from Loreena Mckennitt, “Two Trees.”