The other night I dreamed that we walked into the new house, and they’d painted every single room beige. I was distraught, crying “Why? We were going to buy it anyway!”
Today I started packing my books. Besides china and extra blankets, they’re the easiest to box up first, yet paradoxically the very items I’m most anxious to have put away afterwards so I can feel truly at home. I’ll never forget having to leave almost all my books behind on vicarage, taking only my “how to raise a baby” type books for my first year with an infant. When Pastor Crown came in to see us for the first time, he announced that he always looks over a family’s bookshelves to get a sense of who they are. I was horrified, but too scared to scream, “This isn’t meeeeeee!”
The books are a decent historical record of all the silly and not-so-silly phases I’ve gone through over the years. One box is full of simple living books like Your Money or Your Life and In Praise of Slowness. A few more hold my ginormous wine tomes, although I finally passed my sommelier flashcards to a friend. There’s a box with my childhood favorites–the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, the Anne of Green Gables series, the Narnia series, and some Madeline L’Engle volumes. All of the books I studied for English lit classes in college, including the odd postmodern Irish literature collection. My Lutheran books, which multiply quarterly now that I’m on the CPH board and get boxes of all the new products. The stacks of law school books and writing books, including one creative book called The Artist’s Way that I almost dumped but then thought better of, because maybe I need a humbling reminder that I once thought some woo-woo “letting go of my childhood and all the people who are holding back my creativity” workbook would make me a bestselling novelist. (To be fair, a lot of my writer friends love Julia Cameron’s books. I am not one of them.)
A few of my books are actually my parents’, borrowed from their shelves in college and never returned. (Shhh!) And the rest are my favorite works of fiction, everything from my complete Oscar Wilde collection to Edith Wharton, Chaim Potok and Ernest Hemingway to Anthony Trollope and Henry James.
Is it too soon to already miss them?