For the last five years, my life has been on the move. For three years, I lived in dorms at the University of Texas at Arlington, getting my bachelor’s in English, and for the past two years I’ve lived in campus apartments at the University of Central Arkansas, getting my MFA in creative writing. So every winter and summer break, I move out and return to my parent’s house, my childhood home—where my actual bookshelves, packed in total with hundreds of books, reside.
The sparse offerings pictured here are what I decided to bring from home a few weeks ago, when I returned to Conway, Arkansas and my campus apartment. In the picture above, the stack on the right is comprised of all my books for my classes, except for Dracula, which I am supposed to be reading for a class right now and so is on my desk. The stack on the left is a personal TBR pile, about half comprised of books I stole from my mother’s bookshelf at home (and promise I will return), and also two personal essays anthologies—I have become obsessed with the personal essay form after taking a creative nonfiction class last semester—the Writing about Writing textbook, and a book called A Literature of Sports, which my dad—a baseball fanatic and a high school baseball and football coach—gave me. There is also a bowl of Reese’s minis, my favorite candy (especially when I’m stressed with school stuff), and in the back a Robert Johnson sheet music book.
Pictured above is my more immediate TBR pile, stacked on my desk. The first two books are by Kazuo Ishiguro, recent Nobel Prize winner who I’ve never read anything by (yet). Then there is a mix of history books, such as the Abraham Lincoln biography and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time, screenplays—Lincoln and Magnolia—a collected stories book by fellow Texan Katherine Anne Porter, a poetry book by Rubén Dario, and an anthology of film criticism and theory.
The books pictured here are all a sort of random mishmash of stuff I’m interested in right now—either because I’m just randomly interested or because I’m being forced to be interested by a class. It’s annoying and a bit ridiculous, a bit Sisyphean, lugging books from Waxahachie, Texas to Conway, Arkansas every three or so months, especially when I’ll probably not even read half of them—instead becoming interested with a topic or author that I can find plenty of resources on in the campus library—but I can’t help it. I love being surrounded by books, and don’t feel at home otherwise.
Cass Hayes is a writer from Waxahachie, Texas. She attends the Arkansas Writers MFA Program at the University of Central Arkansas and works as the managing editor of the online literary journal Arkana. Her fiction and poetry appears or is forthcoming in various online and print literary journals, including Five:2:One, Work Literary Magazine, and Déraciné Magazine.