What I really should do now that I’ve decided to skip the usual Sunday lunch with mom and dad is fix my schedule and to-do list for the month of July, which happens to be That Dreaded Deadline-Infested Month. My anxiety over July—which caused me to ditch lunch in the first place—ought to be alleviated somewhat once I sit down and match dates with obligations, pencil in a truckload of errands I should no longer put off (buy kitty litter! bring cat to vet!), and tally up the extra money earned and/or sense of productivity gained by virtue of my propensity to say yes to any job that comes my way.
But instead I am staring at my shelves and thinking how nice it would be to be hired to do book arrangement—a la ikebana, only I’d have books to work with rather than flowers. (Incidentally, my dictionary tells me that ikebana is from ikeru [‘keep alive’] and hana [‘flowers’], and so if book is hon in Japanese [hon also meaning ‘basis,’ ‘this,’ ‘main,’ and ‘real’], would book arrangement then be ikebon, the h turned to b?) I could go over to the book owner’s house and, after a brief discussion about needs and preferences, I could then arrange the books. Conventional systems would include alphabetical, or by genre, or alphabetical and by genre, according to author or title or publisher, or according to size and/or shape of books and/or size and shape of shelves. I could arrange by book color, or by typography on the spine, or according to thickness and weight, or according to cover images. I could group according to commercial value (first editions or limited editions or out-of-print books or books signed by the author) or according to spectacular stories of acquisition (rare books fished out of the bargain bin for less than the price of a beer at the neighborhood hole in the wall or misplaced/abandoned books found in an empty classroom/at the airport/on a sidewalk). I could curate based on the owner’s personal history or peculiar affinities, say, according to givers (if books were received as gifts) or when and where bought (if the owner likes keeping track), or fluctuating persuasions (mga libro ng katibakan o mga libro nung straight ka pa o mga libro nung isa ka pang undergrad na sabog/relihiyoso/existential/pakawala, mga libro nung nagtrabaho ka bilang _____, mga libro nung kayo pa ni _____, mga libro dala ng hilig sa ______), or current/anticipated states of being/mind (books for relaxation, books for toilet reading, books for road trips, books for the blues, books for dwindling convictions, books for loss of faith, books for reckless exhilaration). I could do book versions of mixtapes and put together a playlist-booklist for you to read! I could arrange your books so that the titles, when read in order—left to right, top to bottom of your shelves—add up to a poem, or even a speculative biography of you in verse! I could employ chance operations to arrange your books, say, assign numbers to books and determine their succession through a throw of the dice! I could match personal memorabilia with the pertinent books (slip restaurant receipts or movie tickets or plane or train or bus stubs in pages of the books you were with at the time) for your very own personal museum or columbarium of sorts! Or something like that.
My other long-standing desire is to own a laminator, a wire-binding machine, and a photocopier. This tells me maybe what I really want to do is have my own stall at the Shopping Center. Which is a far more sensible business aspiration than book arranging.