Thursday, October 22, 2009
Rambling On . . .
I had planned to blog on Eva Ibbotson today, but the weather interfered. I know that claim sounds absurd, but it’s true, honest. You see, cold weather has come to Georgia. Usually in October average temperatures in my hometown fall in the mid-70s, with lows in the low 50s. But this year somebody has stolen our Indian summer. I thought I had until the end of the month to exchange short-sleeved tops and cotton skirts and dresses for long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and wool. But we’ve already switched from air conditioning to heat and put blankets on the beds, and I’ve been freezing in thin tees and jeans. So yesterday and today I have made the great wardrobe switch. Summer clothes are packed away, and my closet and chest are filled with darker colors and heavier fabrics.
While I was in domestic mode, I decided to clean off my desk and reorganize my bookshelves, both monumental tasks that required wrenching decisions such as whether I had any use for a four-month collection of library lists and which books to prune to make room for the new keepers. All this activity left me little time to complete my Ibbotson blog. It will have to wait for next week or perhaps the one following. I felt like a failure when I thought I would go blogless this Thursday, but then I had an epiphany. I could blog about my nightstand.
Caught in the power of my semi-annual cleaning frenzy, I also cleaned off my nightstand, a chore almost as demanding as cleaning off my desk. The top of said nightstand stays relatively neat because it is mostly utilitarian. It reveals little. At all times it holds a lamp, a clock, a box of Kleenex, a bottle of water, a glass case, a small notebook, a couple of pens, and the current bedtime book—all items that could belong to a busy mother, a businesswoman, a waitress, or a dozen other women. The flowers on lamp, clock, glass case, and notebook do suggest they are the property of a woman.
But the under shelf—ah, the tales it tells. Even after the cleaning, it holds twelve books, two of them hardbacks, a stack of CDs, and a white wicker basket with a blue and yellow lining. The basket is overflowing with stuff-an angel wing shell, a tube of lip gloss, a small orange bunny named Flannery, a paperback dictionary, a gift book of angel quotations, a book journal, a half dozen bookmarks, a handmade birthday card signed in large letters by my favorite pair of brothers (ages 5 and almost 8), a notebook with my latest efforts at rewriting a key section of my first ms, and another notebook filled with preliminary info about the novel I’m hoping to draft next month for NaNoWriMo. The books include The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke, a battered copy of Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction, John Stott’s The Beatitudes, Stephanie Barron’s The White Garden, Eva Ibbotson’s Island of the Aunts, and seven recently-read or about-to-be-read romance paperbacks—a mix of historical and categories—with Jo Beverley’s reissued Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed on top. The CDs are a mix of country, classical, Southern gospel, and just-for-me collections created by four of my fellow Bon Bons. Each item tells something about the person I am—the reader, the writer, the music lover, the Christian, the sentimentalist, the packrat.
What’s on your nightstand? Is it strictly utilitarian? Or does it hold clues to the person you are?