An Open Letter To The Unfinished Books On My Bedside Table

Dear unfinished books,

You are sh-tty little barnacles of guilt on my day and I hate you.

I carried you home from the bookstore, giddy with your potential, your possibility. For 25 bucks and just a few hundred pages, your seductive cover art and zesty blurbs — Illuminating! Transcendent! Polarizing! — made me think that I might become a better scholar, writer, and human. How could I pass up a chance at illumination? How could I not transcend? I conjured up imaginary masses of people who would never read the collection of words under my arm. Shame on them! I will give them verbal whiplash at parties with the knowledge I acquire from you.

But really, shame on me.

Unfinished books, must you look peevishly at me from your bedside perch of eternal judgment? You represent all that I haven’t done because I’m too busy eating and watching Doctor Who reruns. I just can’t get rid of you, can I?

For months I just stare at you and flick through your pages. I cart you around in my bag to doctor’s appointments and for long car rides, as if the literal weight of your presence on my shoulders will force me to finish you.

You must first serve as a constant reminder of lessons unlearned, of projects unfinished, of hundreds of dollars wasted. I could have spent that money on frivolities of no academic or caloric value, like games  or ice cream.

Unfinished books, I want to be one of those people who achieve things, who use both sides of their brain, who have goals and then act upon those goals. I want so badly to read you and to learn from you, but mostly I want you to graduate ASAP to the bookshelf. Then I can go back to Books-A-Million.