Today is the anniversary of moving into this house. Yesterday, in what seemed like an appropriate celebratory gesture, I set up the stereo so I have music at last! Or at least that selection of cds which has so far been unpacked, which is, mysteriously, a motley collection. I was sure I packed them in an orderly fashion. There are a lot more in a box somewhere. Who knows where.
I am glad to have some music anyway. But still no books. Because my study isn’t decorated yet, which hasn’t happened because I’ve been busy with my current work-in-progress, I haven’t got any shelves so I can’t unpack them.
I feel bad about it.
I sometimes imagine them, all those characters in all those novels, and they’re tired of being shut up in the dark, and they’re calling, ‘Let us out!’
And I wish I could. Because I’ve missed them. Like you miss old friends you haven’t seen for far too long.
On numerous occasions this last year in the same way that you might suddenly fancy a particular tasty something – a chocolate biscuit, say, or a banana – I’ve desired the flavour of this book or that.
I’ve had a sudden desire for a snackerel of Shakespeare – a sonnet maybe or a dip into Hamlet. Or a modern poem, something unfamiliar, that might provide a little epiphany, a moment to pause and savour. And Dickens keeps coming round, yes, I’m definitely fancying some Dickens.
And it’s not just the reading I miss but the books themselves, their physical presence.
This week, taking a deep breath, I braved a certain store known for its flat-packed furniture and meatballs. As well as purchasing chairs, I chose which bookcases I will have when the room is ready for them, but I couldn’t bring them home with me because it’s too soon.
I hope it won’t be too long before they’re actually here.
When the books are on the shelves I reckon this house will feel like home.