Book Hedgehog

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!




11 responses to “Book Hedgehog”

  1. On your being boring, G.K. Chesterton had some great lines for that in Orthodoxy (or was it Heretics? one of the two) about how God rejoicingly makes each blade of grass, and repeats items over and over due to their glory, etc. The people who get bored are the ones who don’t know how to rejoice in each glorious thing before us. Saying it terribly, but we love your “boring” conversations, which are anything but!

    1. Well, if you think about it, the hypnotic beauty of a wheatfield waving in the breeze is that proximity of millions and millions of single plants, all boringly alike, but when they dance in the wind I could stand there and watch for hours.

      I’m so very grateful for my readers who have become friends like you and the support and encouragement you give me.

  2. If we had but “World Enough, and Time,” to read all the books that deserve reading. In my imaginary, prolly never to be made manifest, house, there would be one of those massive, two story libraries with bookshelves covering walls interrupted only by windows to let in natural reading light. That is in addition to the bookcases scattered in all other rooms. 🙂

  3. Boring is good.
    It allows us to rejoice in the well-written description of something mundane, instead of being frantically driven to seek out the pertinent facts about a disaster soon to befall all of us.
    Now, I HAVE been known to make stuff up, just to have a blog post. Playing drums for Fleetwood Mac, the time the narwhals ate my tomato plants, refusing to do any more work for Stanley Kubrick, and shooting a snake on the roof of my house are all that I can think of at the moment, but each one was fun.
    Of course, I can afford to give those away for free, whereas producing stories is a source of income for you; still, you may want to tell us about the time that Granma chased the elk off the porch with a wooden spoon.
    Of course, in YOUR case, your grandmother probably DID chase an elk off the porch with a wooden spoon, so it wouldn’t tax your imagination at all.
    Keep on writing, though. Yer adoring fans will read just about anything, and like it.

    1. It wasn’t an elk, or a wooden spoon, but she did shoot a bear through the front window when it was trying to get in for her fresh-baked pie…

      1. Has La Vaughn ever guest-posted for you? I’ve read and enjoyed immensely her books, but I don’t know if she is the master of the short form the way you are.

        1. I have asked her if she would be willing to, I’ll remind her that invitation is still open. I also asked my mother for something, as well! (poke, Mom…)

    2. I (mostly) prefer stories about the ‘mundane’ details of daily life, rather than the ones full of blood and guts and constant excitement. A good writer can make ‘mundane’ daily life just as interesting, and (for most of us, thankfully) the blood and guts and high drama only happens rarely in real life. There are good stories about ‘save the world!’ but I am happy with ‘Little Women’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ (to name some of my favorite stories). There’s no ‘save the world’ in any of those, but they are excellent stories that have endured through time and still attract new readers.

      1. I have many memories of trying to be quiet in the corner (usually with a book in front of my face) so I could hear the grown-ups telling tales. Now, I weave those stories into my stories. Not the boring bits of life, but things like Grandma’s bear, and the snowshoe cake Aunt Moya made for Walter Northway, and others. They aren’t tales of derring-do, but they were exciting, or fun, or memorable, and they make up ordinary lives.

  4. Both times I have moved I have reduced my clutter drastically as part of the packing process. I tend to collect clutter. Or as my husband puts it: I have a flat surface problem, if its flat I have to put something on it…..

    1. Yes, yes, I have this problem too! LOL