Surrounding me in my office and extending into an adjacent room are bookshelves. As I look at them, I realize how much they tell about me.
One section of the shelves is filled LP records and tapes. Most are complete recordings of operas, one of the passions of my life. Then there are eleven shelves filled with compact discs, all of classical music, including lots of operas. Next come five shelves of classical music scores, some full orchestral scores, some just for piano. After them come three shelves of tapes, mostly VHS but also more classical acoustic analog recordings. Then there are the books, literally hundreds of them. Around twenty of them are dictionaries, some English, some other languages. Then there are the dozens of books I have reviewed and books on subjects I’m partial to like music, opera, ballet, and languages.
In addition to the shelves holding books, tapes, and CDs is a double-sided floor-to-ceiling set of shelves holding stereo equipment—two turntables, a large tape deck, and five consoles of various kinds. All this equipment is less and less used these days as I find that music distracts me while I’m reading or writing.
In the middle of the room is my ten-foot-long u-shaped desk, always cluttered with books, pens, pencils, notes to myself, my computer and its ancillary equipment. It is constructed of the same blond maple wood as the shelves. Many years ago, I paid a professional cabinetmaker to build the desk and shelves for me. Fortunately, it all fits perfectly in my office in the lowest level of my split-level house in Columbia, Maryland, where I moved only a few years ago.
So here I sit, writing away, surrounded by the possessions gathered over my many years on earth. At first glance, it seems to me, this is obviously the workroom of an artist, a man who has spent his life as a musician, a linguist, and a writer.