House is tiny.
It’s a small dwelling that was put together in fits and starts, bits added as the original owners decided they could afford it. It’s quaint, every room is on a different level and the rooms are small, but it is so perfectly idiosyncratic and the place just spoke to us when it was put up for sale 31 years ago by the original owner.
We renovated six years ago and opted to remove the old wood-heater because we knew that in our old age, the last thing we wanted to be doing was carting wood and dealing with the ash, dust and mess that is a wood-burner, despite the obvious charm of flame and wood.
And by removing the old fireplace in which sat the heater, we gained nearly 2 feet of depth for the lounge. Most importantly, I gained a floor to ceiling bookcase in which I can store my most absolutely loved fiction (the kind I read again and again).
But it’s a narrow series of shelves, about 3 feet wide with 8 shelves. So today while the wind roared and the willows whomped, I had the big clean out – a spring clean.
I packed up all those books that I won’t read again, in order to free up space for more fiction that waits in the city to be transported here. The ‘outs’ will all go to a charity bookshop on the coast – a worthy way to donate for a cause.
I thought I would free up lots of space with all this dusting and re-shelving. In fact, all I have freed up is this:
I realised that some of the Mary Hoffman gaps are with an embroidery friend in the city, who is working her way through the fabulous Stravaganza series. And space in the Rosamunde Pilcher shelf is because my daughter has some of the novellas. The JK Rowling collection has doubled because I’m collecting a set of illustrated Harry Potters.
The bottom shelf has been cleared to make room for old childrens’ books that I uncovered for my grandson for when he’s older. The collection is a mixture of my own childrens’ books along with a few of my kids’ books.
The books I choose to remove are no insult to the authors. I obviously enjoyed them enough to keep them for this long. But I won’t read them again. There are others I will read – favourite mainstreamers like Simon Turney, Matthew Harffy, Jilly Cooper, Juliet Marillier and Lian Hearn and a few dozen others. Favourite classics – very eclectic – Elisabeth Gaskell, Jane Austen, LM Montgomery, EH Shepard, AA Milne. Trust me, people, the thing with living in a tiny house with tiny shelves is that one’s selections have to be carefully considered.
My favourite indies – Gordon Doherty, Alex Martin, CJ Archer, Annie Whitehead, Anna Belfrage, Mandy Jackson Beverley and a heap of others are all on my Kindle and go everywhere with me. I rarely weed through the lists to delete, and apart from the fact I can’t display the books on real shelves, they are all keepers.
As I look at the lounge shelves now, they are tidier, more loved. This is the view I will have as I lie on the couch, watchingTV. I have to say, I can’t wait for the gaps to be filled and then all will be right with world. But as well, in this process today, I found a few gems.
Like the paperweight from Venice which was the inspiration behind the award-winning A Thousand Glass Flowers.
And three little artists’ books – the top one made by my daughter and the bottom two by me, all singing of the Tassie east coast. It was a perfect way to spend a windy, showery Saturday.
Writing another fiction for someone else’s shelves…