Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Through the Glass: Brightly

My longtime friends here will recognize this window.

I've snuck it into this blog a few times before. While I love so many things about my house, I rarely get a chance to hang out in this room. It's where most of the books are. Someday we'll get around to having someone build custom bookcases to match our home's original mahogany built-ins in the next room. But for now, our Ikea particleboard shelves manage those hundreds (and hundreds) of volumes just fine. We call the room The Library, although it it's a mighty highfalutin name for a 10 by 14 foot space that doubles as our guestroom.

When we moved in, we put one of those dark wood frame futons in there. You know, one like everyone had in an apartment at some point in the nineties, the kind that folds up into a couch. It was a leftover from younger days -- a placeholder until we found the distinguished leather sofa that would so perfectly suit a room called The Library. But when our first guest arrived and we pulled the futon out to make a bed, we never folded it back because there are few things more wonderful than a well-stocked library, but a well-stocked library with a bed in it is right up there.

Life is a little too hectic (and Little Bit is a little too much of a handful) for much stretching out in The Library With a Bed in It. But we've all been under the weather around here, and there has been a lot of stretching out in the last few days. While stretching, I noticed, again, the comfort of little familiar objects ... the ones we get so used to seeing we don't even really see them anymore. I love objects. And so does our local poet friend Linda Dove, whose book (one of the hundreds in this room) In Defense of Objects pays a sort of homage to the meditative loveliness of stuff. It's the stuff of our lives that accumulates and turns shelves and tables into little alters of us. And since I'm not a religious person, it's a place like this -- with treasured stuff, and piles of books, and those I love nearby -- that comes closest to being my version of holy.

The stuff on this table always makes me smile. It's flanked by a couple of those Ikea bookcases, in front of a window that catches the most incredible morning light. The old moon clock doesn't sound an alarm, it just glows brighter and brighter -- supposedly waking you up in a more natural way than with some kind of electronic chime. Well, it never once woke me up. But it did once shake me up, in a happy way, when I was using the second hand to time two minutes on the pregnancy test that told us our Little Bit was on the way. The phone isn't old, but it looks it, and makes a great Philip Marlowe-worthy brrrrrring when someone calls. There are a few novels on the table that I like to have handy. One was written by a friend. One written by someone I wish could have been a friend. There is a little book of sonnets. There is also a big layer of dust. And although not evident in this picture, there is a sleeping cat who has decided the bed belongs to her.

Years ago, I found those lace curtains at an estate sale. The woman had been some fabulous old Hollywood bit player in the early 30s. I loved the lace, but never had a window the right size to put them in. Until this house, this window.

So, I like looking at this window. It's a reminder of how life can surprise you by suddenly bringing you to just the right spot. It's one of those Hallmark card metaphors about fitting in and feeling at home. And it's also a just great place to read a good book, or recover from a bad cold. (Or blog in a daily blog when you've got nothing else to blog about.)


Dixie Jane said...

i'm all for stuff. And I have my share of it on most flat surfaces. There is comfort in, "things."

Now if I could just find comfort in my bed. Insomnia has taken over my life. Know any quick cures for same?

I hope the futon and the books are adding to your recovery.

Meanwhile I try a mug of hot milk.

Happy Hump Day.

Anonymous said...

Laurie...what a magnificent photo. It truly grabs you with the drama, yet quickly subdues you with the peace. Well done!
P.S. loved your writing about it too...thanks for sharing.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I think I need to transfer Linda's book into my studio where objects are created and worshipped regularly.

altadenahiker said...

What a beautiful, funny, sweet piece. Had such a light touch, but deeply felt.

And you did use high falutin! How strange. (I bought an antique phone -- probably from the 30's -- and has the original phone number on it: GRANITE 4142.)

Laurie said...

Speaking of old telephone numbers, this website is pretty cool."

Anonymous said...

Speaking of phone numbers...a few decades ago, a movie or TV show was sued when it gave a made-up, for dramatic-purposes-only phone number in its production that corresponded to an actual, dialable number--which subsequently was dialed many, many, many times; hence the lawsuit. The solution was to start the phony number with the
"555" exchange, which is nonworking and law-suit free, but, to some, distracting for its artifice. (Of course, we know those really aren't bullets they're shooting.)

Mike said...

I have an old phone, but it doesn't work. So I have one of the reproductions just for that ring you mentioned. Nothing beats that old bell ring, especially in cell phone land.

Laurie said...

Mike, I downloaded an old phone ring for my iPhone.

Shanna said...

I love libraries and as you know, the library room in our house is our favorite room. Loved the way you wrote about yours.

Margaret said...

Why that's loverly. Love the mention of Linda. She is so talented.

Petrea said...

I like this piece--and I do mean "piece." The photo and the essay go together as one.

Linda Dove said...

Awww, thanks for the shout-out. It's taking me a little longer than usual to get around to all my blogs this month, but I appreciate the kind endorsement--of the book and of objects. :-)

And I think Karin should name her memoir, "GRANITE 4142."