A King of Infinite Space There are many milestones in the course of a breakup, but one of the most decisive is almost certainly the separation of stuff. Living together for three years, interweaves you in a way that can be as hard to put asunder as the emotional entanglements, because, of course, the stuff helps embody aspects of your relationship. There's the couch we spent so much time picking out, and then so much time on together. There's the cats who slept with us every night, the knives we got as gifts, the books we got to read together.
I guess I got off lucky. I went away for the weekend, and when I came back, the wreckage of the apartment was mine and mine alone. She'd organized and boxed up and took away everything that was hers, leaving me with my share of the sheets, towels, dishes, and more than my share of space. I could put up a racquetball court. A pool table. An actual pool.
I don't know whether to crowd all my stuff into a couple of corners or to spread out and fill as much space as possible. The latter would make the space less horrifying to guests, the former, less horrifying for me.
What I've done so far is organize the books. The therapeutic nature of compulsively rearranging your prized possessions has perhaps best been depicted in High Fidelity. In the book and the movie, Rob finds solace in organizing his records autobiographically, walking him through a life of music and enabling him to retrace himself through his collection. I could probably do this--I have a freakish memory for where and when I picked up most of my books, even if the Internet has reduced the sense memories involved significantly. This might even be something that survived the Great Illness Memory Massacre of 2008. But there's not much of a point to it, for me.
No, I'm sticking to a strictly alphabetical organization. The significant thing for me is that now all my books will get to be on the same shelf. My ex never expressly forbade it, but I always felt I needed to quarantine the genre fiction. Sci Fi was never given equal weight to literature. Her favorite books were all books where things end badly, unhappily. Maybe that was a sign.
Well, space isn't an issue. So Tolkein and Scalzi and Heinlein and Ellison and Stephenson and Patrick O'Brien are all going up on the main shelf.