The first time my husband decided we need to move from the ‘big’ house to a smaller space, I cried. He had recently completed the transformation of a small bedroom into a marvelous library/study. All my books had a place to call home. When we bought the carriage home, all my babies lost their place in the world. Packed into boxes, they spent two months in storage before being exiled to the garage until their new shelves were completed and they could reclaim their proper station. Oh, the inhumanity…
Fast forward…six years later, we are once again on the move. Turns out a smaller space wasn’t ideal for a workshop and a library. Back into boxes they went – every last volume. I tried to console them with neat labels: section #1, A to Ba, section #3, M to N…a mini-dewey decimal hybrid so I could find them when they were needed. You won’t go to storage this time, I whispered. They didn’t whisper back.
We’re in the new house now, but the shelves that will become my new library are only pencil lines on a drawing board. In the loft that is my personal writing space, I’m immersed in the waters of literature. At first, I leave the books in their labeled containers. Easier to re-shelve when the time comes, I rationalize. But as the days pass, I have to liberate the captives. I’m not immune to the voice of Flaubert, to the poetry of Poe, to the measured essays of Montaigne calling out for rescue. Arthur C. Clarke demands attention. Jasper Fforde’s Tuesday Next pouts. The novels of J. K Rowling wave their magic wands at me.
Now, lifted out of the cardboard, my books swim at my feet, peek over the bannister, scale the filing cabinets. Playful or morose, mysterious or chatty, the volumes of my personal library accompany me on my daily writing arc. Sometimes I stop and peruse the titles. Sometimes I panic, wondering where I put my most recent Mike Mullen YA. When I locate the book, I relax, assured by its presence that, despite the long wait, ASHFALL and all my other lovely friends will soon be home again.