Sunday, August 21, 2011

Trisha J. Wooldridge's Bookshelf

The top shelf of this bookcase, a bookcase made by my grandfather who migrated to the U.S. from Poland, a bookcase that spent much of its life as the sole wooden bookcase in my bedroom, a bookcase that lived through my childhood and teens in the honored place beside my bed where I could sneak books when I should have been sleeping, this top shelf of this bookcase has always been dedicated to housing the a collection of special books. Books that defined my life.

For a while, I kept a Bible and a catechism there.  My then-religion had a major impact on my life.  During my grammar and early middle school years, it housed Judy Blume, The Babysitter's Club, and a Sweet Valley High. I really wanted to be popular, but knew I wasn't. 

During middle school and junior high (because we had junior high in addition to middle grades when I was in school), it housed multiple copies of Madeleine L'Engle's series (four copies, in particular, of A Swiftly Tilting Planet) and C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia and Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn and another unicorn novel by an author I don't remember called, The Firebringer. I realized I would always be strange… and I really loved unicorns.

In high school, the top shelf housed a double layer of books from the DragonLance series and Forgotten Realms. Along with my Dungeons and Dragons sourcebooks. And some three-ring binders of my own writing. I had embraced the creative geek--and I found others who had done the same.

My bookcase was too big to fit in the back of any car my family owned, so I had to leave it behind for college. While I was in college, it was more of a showpiece than an easy-access escape route. I put my pretty, embossed, gold-edged Lord of the Rings box set there, along with my Complete Works of Shakespeare. My Bible and catechism books moved back in--as much for my faith as for the beautiful pictures and ornate spines. The collector's editions of the D&D sourcebooks moved in there, too.

After college, I moved around to a few apartments and finally my house, and the shelf has become a combination of easy-access escape and showpiece. It's the first bookcase you see upon entering the house, and the shelf is either the first or second one you'd notice. There are a few books older than me along with references for herbs and religion and health. I'm likely going to change it over again, soon, because we're re-doing our books (which live in every room of the house at this point - including bathrooms!), but you can bet there will be Important Stuff staying and going on that shelf!
Bio: Trisha J. Wooldridge is a freelance writer, editor and educator from Auburn, MA and the current president of Broad Universe ( Her experience ranges from Dungeons & Dragons Online to animal rescue public relations. She writes about food, wine, horses, haunted locations, education, and she interviews bands like Voltaire, Within Temptation and Nightwish. Her short story, "Party Crashers," co-authored with Christy Tohara, was in the EPIC Award winning, Bad-Ass Faeries: Just Plain Bad, (Marietta 2008, Mundania 2009), with a second co-authored short story in the EPIC Award winning, Bad-Ass Faeries: In all their Glory. She's editing another anthology with Kate Kaynak of Spencer Hill Press called, Unconventional,which collects the secret stories of the weirdness people always knew happened behind the scenes of conventions and conferences.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cassie Consiglio's Bookshelf

The top shelf of my bookcase is very special. It doesn't contain any books, but it does hold my piggy bank collection. There is one that my Dad brought home from Las Vegas. A lot of precious awards are up there. Another valuable thing on that shelf is a wooden chair my Great-Grandpa Eddie made. My baby "book" box is on the shelf and it holds lots of things from when I was first born. There is even a tiny diaper in there. Most importantly, the top shelf holds a picture of my Grandma Sandy. It makes me feel like she is still alive. 

Cassie Consiglio attends fourth grade in New Jersey. She lives with her mom and dad, and two dogs, Yodel and Twinkie. She likes karate, soccer, video games, and reading. Her poem, "The Last of Everything," appeared in the anthology, The Last Man Anthology, a tribute to Mary Shelley.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Elley P. Johnson's Bookshelf

This is my cave, my Momma Cave, and here is my one book shelf, and that over there is the fuzzy pink robe I wear when I write. Seriously, no joke about the fuzzy pink robe. 
My bookshelf is a coffee table, and it’s a work in progress, just like me. 
Currently, my table holds suggested readings from my kick-ass MFA mentor, Tony Abbott. It also hold books to slurp ideas from, books I pine for, books I’m marinating in my brain, and books I pick up for a quick thirty-second jolt of inspiration. I don’t put these titles on a shelf. I like to keep these books close. Five years ago, my table was filled with books offering advice on how not to mess up my kids. Five years before that, the table overflowed with DIY computer programming and IT infrastructure design books, with a few not so random Martha Stewart Weddings magazines mixed in.  
Having a Momma Cave to keep my table is a new luxury. My Momma Cave is where I go to read and write. I close the door for three hours a day and try to shut out all the dangling details that so often keep me from putting words onto the page.  I have a sign on the door. It reads: 
Are you on fire? Are you bleeding profusely from the head?
If your answer is no, DON'T KNOCK. You will survive. Mommy will be with you shortly.
If only it were that easy. 
During my three hours a day, I slow to a crawl, my plate empties, and I am without a thing to do for someone else. I like to think of it as freedom in suspended animation. Blissfully messy and disorganized, but a freedom I hold dear. This is what my table (bookshelf) represents, and what my Momma Cave preserves, fuzzy pink robe and all. 
Elley is a low res MFA student at Lesley University, and lives in Bangkok, Thailand were she frequently dehydrates from mixing extreme heat and 50 cent Singha Beer. She has published in JAMIA such thrilling titles as “The World Wide Web: A Review of an Emerging Internet-Based Technology for the Distribution of Biomedical Information” and “Web Report: A World Wide Web Clinical Multimedia Reporting System.”  She is currently working on a spy geek chapter book, a middle grade novel with Leprechauns and Thor, God of Thunder, and a travel log detailing every place around the world her children have vomited, either entirely or partly, on her.  
For more Elley, visit