Wouldn’t it be great if instead of a writing a tiny autobiography I could simply invite you into my library? You would first notice that “library” is a word I use very loosely since there are books everywhere where I live, and hopefully you would forgive me for having to move one or two stacks out of the way during your visit so that you can, say, sit in a chair or eat at the table.
You could look through the titles on the shelves and make inferences about my tastes and evolution as a reader (most of those critical theory books were acquired, as you might guess, during college—though not all), you could consider the state of some of the more well-loved volumes and guess about the characteristics of each that have most shaped me. You might even spend some time puzzling over the way I organize my books (here’s a hint: it’s not alphabetical) and what it suggests about the sort of person that I am. Would you find something you might want to borrow? Would you be offended by my pencilled marginalia?
From the little piles of picture books and stuffed animals you would correctly deduce that there are growing children about (twins, in fact). You might notice a shoebox full of seed packets on a stack of gardening books or a grocery list pertaining to a few untried recipes sticking out of the pages of a cookbook balancing on the mixer. In all of this amiable clutter, amid the neglected surfaces with their light coating of dust like a gentle reproach, you would begin to get a very good picture of who I am; but it isn’t, of course, the whole story.
What I really hope for in inviting you into my library is that you will find something arousing, and that eventually, if I’m careful and fortunate, you might invite me into your library too.