Let’s say you’ve had certain pictures, paintings, various wall hangings that have stayed in place for a very long time, and in that time, you’ve never repainted the walls. When you take those pictures, paintings, what have you, down from their long-assigned places on your walls, they leave behind the imprint , the shadow, a marker, both indelible and empty, of where they once were. Their homes are marked by where they once resided, where they once lived. And thereby, hangs many tales. Deep, unknowable tales.
The absence of those pictures tells as much of a story as they themselves once did, just hanging there.
The residue of a filled space is empty space.
But it is your space nonetheless.
My husband and i are engaged in downsizing. Eventually, we will move from the large half Victorian house we’ve been living in for over a decade, and we will move to someplace new, clean, spare, overlooking the Bay or the Ocean, and we will be glad that we have so much less to clean and keep up with. We will have divested ourselves of a lot of “stuff”, gotten rid of tons of “things” that once we owned, or, to put it bluntly, that once owned us.
And as I empty our many bookshelves of the hundreds of books we are about to contribute to the SF Public Library (you have a to make an actual appointment to do so), the residue of each of those decisions tells the story of my life. What is left, the residue?
And empty space were once lived an entire lifetime of books, play scripts, art table top books and countless memoirs. Lots and lots of rehearsal scripts that could not possibly be of any interest to anyone except the most driven of theatre historians.
I am emptying my life of who i once was by giving away all these books, and the residue is emptiness.
i am stunned at the number of books Peter and I have collected over the 20 years we have been married. Books from our college days, our graduate school days, our days as actors, our days as data analysts (that sPeter not me), and so so so much more.
I have written about how our piles define us, but now I am here to write that once those piles are gone, we are defined even further. We are defined by our emptiness.
I welcome the chance to be an empty vessel. I will find my new corner and sit in it with yet another stack of newly ordered books and let them take up space for a while, and then?
Then i shall give them away.
I order hard copies of all my new books because i adore the smell and the feel of turning actual pages.
I am a book addict, getting myself off the main line.
I will be clean and i will be sober.
And i will never stop buying books.
After all, writers have to pay their rent, and i am more than happy to help them do so.