Saving My Spot on the Shelf

Every time I go into a new bookstore, I always look for the shelf where my books will sit one day. Depending on the selection, I usually fall between the works of Robert Easton and the novels of David Ebershoff. I don’t know why I do it. A touch of vanity? Camaraderie? Reassurance? A challenge?

I’m not sure what compels me to search the E’s — with Dickens and Dumas watching from above and Faulkner and Fitzgerald standing guard below — looking for a book that hasn’t even been written yet. Once I find the place, I push the books aside a smidge as if to make space. At this point, I start feeling silly and wander off to another aisle.

There’s something about this ritual that fires my imagination. The shelf is a finish line. It’s real. I can touch it. It’s more than a little self-indulgent, I’ll admit, but it does boost my confidence. When I get back to my computer, I’m more resolved to get to work — to actually write instead of just dreaming about writing.

And soon, when I scan the fiction section, I won’t find an empty space between Easton and Ebershoff; I’ll find a novel by J.W. Eberle. Right where it’s supposed to be, in the spot I saved for it.

— 30 —

When I’m not writing, thinking about writing, reading about writing or writing about writing, I tweet my observations about anything and everything (except South Korean TV shows) under the name @jonnyeberle. Follow along or share your thoughts in the comments.

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