Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Shelf Life

When I have appointments all day with my undergraduates, I eventually lose the desire to look at them. My mind is still focused on their papers, but my eyes are looking over their shoulders at the books on my gray-green shelves. I get the most intense cravings then, overwhelming desires to read books that I would otherwise care less about. Some of them I've read before. Others I've been saving for rain that only comes to the desert once every decade. In those moments, though, when I'm not looking at my students by looking at my books, the compulsion to read, say, a collection of Ambrose Bierce stories or that G. Gordon Liddy novel I keep visible to dismay my visitors becomes almost irresistible. It's all I can do to avoid reaching over the person I'm talking to to secure the object of my inexplicable, evanescent desire. And then, once she or he has exited my office, that desire suddenly slackens, rendering the memory of its force a puzzle to set right.
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