First of all, go and watch Maggie’s characteristically awesome list of the top ten things that inspire her.
I want to talk about number 5: lying on the floor. Because, you see, last night I had a perfect moment. No, better make that a Perfect Moment, because it was. It was late at night. SmallBoy was asleep in his cot in his room. Husband was watching TV. Most of the lights in the house were off. I’d just had a shower – blastingly hot, because my shoulder had been hurting me off and on all afternoon – and emerged pink-steamed and damp to discover – alack – yes, in fact, a lack – an entire lack of clean clothes awaiting me.
My own fault, of course; I’m not the kind of person who has a maid to lay out clothes for me when I shower 😛
But. I toddled down to the spare room (aka Place Where Laundry Goes to Languish) half-dressed to retrieve the other half of my dressings – down the warm, dim hall, soft carpet squishing under my feet, the murmur of the TV a faint, comforting soundtrack to the adventure. I switched on the light, rummaged for pajamas, and caught a glimpse of my bookshelves. (Because the Room of Laundry Languishment is also the Room of All Books, though not a library, because that is too grand and single-purposed.)
So I stopped. I lay down on the floor, mostly, yes, on the clean piles of washing. I snagged a stuffed polar bear for my pillow, and dragged a handy SmallBoy-blanket from the clean washing to cover me.
And #5: I lay on the floor. And it was brilliant.
And then it was Perfect: Husbical switched off the TV. Scouted for me in the bedroom. Realising my absence, followed the trail of light to the spare room. Stared in bemusement at me sprawled carefree in the clean washing, staring at nothing but shelves full of books.
“Come join me,” I asked him.
He declined, but I insisted, and he – because he is wonderful – relented.
And so I told him. I told him what I was doing there, and why I love my physical books so much.
“I’m looking at photo albums,” I told him. “Only it’s better, because instead of just a photo, you get a whole story.”
He seemed confused.
“I can tell you where I was when I bought nearly every single book on my shelves. I can tell you where I was when I was reading them, and I have whole swags of memories attached to each because of when I read it, where I read it, who I shared it with. It’s just like looking at a photo album, only it’s even better, because instead of a photo that you can really only look at for a minute, you get an entire story that you can read for hours.”
And I wrapped my arm around him, and I showed him. These are the books Mum and Dad bought when I was seven. They wrapped each one individually and it felt like magic. Those ones are high school with my best friend. That series is my middle sister, those books my baby sister. That’s my trip to America to visit the Twinny One. These ones are countless hours of lining up in bookstores, waiting for them to be released. That one’s getting to meet and interview the author at a signing. Those are the first time a friend gifted me a book for helping her with her website; these here the first books my parents bought me as an adult. That one I got as a thank you at school.
So this is me, telling you why I love my books, and why lying on the floor is totally inspiring: my bookshelf is my photo album. And last night, I had a Perfect Moment.
Often, being still with someone you love is all you need to create one.