I live a boring life, at least looking in from the outside. Heck, I spent most of yesterday cleaning house and baking, and that made me ridiculously happy. So when I take a leave of absence from the blog, it’s really just because I don’t have anything interesting to say. And I figure, just like Mom told me when I was a kid, that it was better to say nothing at all than to say something unkind, it was better to say nothing at all than to be boring to my reading audience.
Which isn’t to say that I think I’m fascinating – I’m not. Nor even that I have something interesting to say today – I don’t. No, I just realized it’s been a few days and I ought to pop in, dust a bit, and make mention that I’m alive, and well, and insanely busy. The reason cleaning yesterday made me so happy is that it’s been something like three weeks since I last had a chunk of time to clean in, and the house was reaching a state of squalor that was driving me mad. The First Reader was even being stressed by it, although he hadn’t said anything (other than about the bathroom sink. He’d really love to have his own bathroom sink with a pristine counter uncluttered by any feminine products. Or kid stuff). So I tore through the house moving empty boxes that had been stacked up to put in the recycling – and the Little Man wanted to save for fort builds. No forts in the house! I said. Laundry got caught up, counters got scrubbed with the magic eraser, and the living room is no longer the graveyard of old computers being cannibalized for Arduino projects.
I’m not a good housekeeper. It’s nice to have a clean house, but it’s also nice to write, and do art, and go for walks, and… pretty much anything else. Disciplining myself to take the time away from fun (or work, if I consider the writing and art) to maintain the house isn’t easy for me. That, and I do attract clutter. The First Reader has pointed out that before I came along he owned very little, needed very little… and now we have a kitchen full of gadgets, bookshelves in every room, and my perpetually-expanding collection of art supplies. I was seriously contemplating a house with five bedrooms so I’d have a studio AND an office (that house has issues, so it’s likely not happening). I’d say I’ll get better about the housekeeping, but I probably won’t. I’ll declutter, though, because moving is daunting enough without transporting crap we don’t need.
Books, though, are not clutter. There seems to be a trend toward displaying books spine side in. Certainly I saw the photos of that making the rounds on social media whilst like-minded readers squawked indignantly about the uselessness of the idea.
The source of this image recommends it as ‘a sleek way to display books’ and you’ll note that the books are even sorted by page color, with the golden pages that usually indicate aged paper lined up next to one another. The only thing I can think is that these are the people who buy books in bulk by the yard, to put on shelves and impress others with their literary aspirations… but never actually read any of them. Twice in my life I’ve been forced to gut my library to please others, once because the person didn’t want to buy enough shelves for our new home to put up the books, and the other because they viewed the bookshelves in every room of the house as clutter and wanted them gone so the interior décor was more open and ‘calming’
The First Reader and I weren’t even officially together when I shipped my library to him. I sold some of it, the rare books I’d collected over the years, to pay for the shipping as I was near broke at the time. It was in a sense my dowry to him. Much reduced, but still more sizeable than you’d think for someone who had to thin their books radically. If I’d been unable to leave and join him, at least the books would have been with someone who loved reading and would care for them. For me, books are comforting. I might read primarily via ebook these days, but I’ll never give up the serenity of being surrounded by spines graven with familiar names and titles. In their pages are worlds and universes. In the books I can find knowledge to expand my brain. If sleek is obscuring the potential of the book, then I want to be the opposite of sleek. Fluffy? Porcupine? I’ll be a Book Hendghog!