As regular visitors to this site may notice, I have been tinkering with it’s appearance. Although the ‘Pilcrow’ theme, with it’s image of old books, was appropriate for a blog about writing, it suddenly seemed tired and lacklustre – to my eyes, anyway. Much like the bookcase I inherited from my parents, along with it’s 12 volume Encyclopaedia, anthologies of poetry, old classics and ‘how to’ manuals.
I have always given pride of place to this reminder of where my love for reading generated, moving it from one room to another in an attempt to find an ideal location for it. At first I had to be able to see the books; pull them out and open them at random, inhaling the aroma of my childhood home, from their yellowed pages. I’d scan a few lines here and there – from ‘The Song of Hiawatha’, or ‘The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner’, then return them to their shelves, regretful that my father was no longer here to read them to his great-grandchildren – as he had to me, when I was young.
One day I suddenly decided that I couldn’t look at this faded collection any longer. That it was actually holding me back, reminding me of what I no longer had. So we moved it upstairs to the landing and exchanged some of the old books for newer ones of our own.
There’s a section for Isle of Wight writers: Wendy K Harris, Anne Lewington and Jan Toms to name but three. Plus the Wight Writers’ 2010 anthology, ‘Making Waves’, which includes one of my short stories. It also displays my books on paper-making, papier-mâché, t’ai chi, gardening and crochet and a few picture books for when children come to visit. The Artist is minimalist, so has just one small shelf for his limited collection of Digital Art tutorials; motorcycle maintenance and classic car renovation manuals.
I haven’t dumped my father’s treasuries of poetry – or my mother’s Complete Wordfinder, Reverse Dictionary or any of the other books she bought to help her with word puzzles. I use these myself, in my writing. Those that haven’t found a place on the bookshelf are safely stacked in the attic, along with my parent’s slide projector, an old singer sewing machine and my Dad’s beer mugs (about 100 of those, seriously!) I might bring them back down, one day – but in the meantime my memories are safe.
These subtle changes I’m making – in my home and on this site – are a reflection of the shift in consciousness that I’m working on, as I move into the next phase of my life. I’ve exchanged the ‘dusty old books’ theme for one that reminds me that spring is around the corner, that nature is already preparing for a fresh growth.
Just like me.