And now for the proof of my personal growth through this project.
When I first embarked upon this project, it was in recognition that I had always been a bibliophile, but quite without meaning to, I had slipped into madness and become a full-blown bibliomaniac.
I began with hundreds of books across three different bookcases. They were also on top of the bookcases.
And stacked horizontally in the spaces between the top of the rows and the bottom of the shelf above.
And tesselated artfully into the little gaps that were left over.
This was rather less healthy than plain old bibliophilia, and I knew it had to end.
And it has.
I have gradually weeded out piles as I’ve gone through each letter of the alphabet with this project, on the justification that if I didn’t choose them for the project, they obviously didn’t excite me that much overall and probably wouldn’t next time I went searching for something to read.
And you know what? I felt lighter and freer with each one. I realised that for some time I had no longer owned these books. They had owned me. All that they represented was my own guilt at not having the time to read them all, even though many had lost their relevance long ago.
In fact, it felt so good that like a woman possessed, I got rid of the shelves as well.
Now we have discarded three full size bookshelves that were overpowering tiny Shell Cottage.
We have space to hang pictures, to dance around, to place a cushy armchair for more comfortable reading spaces!
There is one more bookshelf to be emptied and sold. Soon I will curate my collection to fit into the one little bookshelf left, that will match The Ministry’s.
Then we will each just have one (apart from the bookshelf containing The Ministry’s complete Dragonlance book collection, which will outlive us all and probably the nuclear holocaust).
I will stay a bibliophile. I will hold, love, sniff and touch my own books (and others’…) in ways bordering on the creepy.
I will still buy books and support bookstores – probably more so than I have been able to justify doing in years. But I will avoid commitment and letting them move in with me forever. I will buy, enjoy and pass on. If one captures my heart and is allowed to stay, then another will have to gracefully vacate the premises.
This project has become something much more than it began as my friend Juji suggested when I was thinking of a way to revive my neglected blog. It has become an exercise in a personal journey inspired in part by minimalism, in part by the idea of vagabonding and most of all by a desire to embrace more than the past.
So as much as may have cursed you over the past, very challenging blogging year – thank you Juji! You’ve given me a precious gift – the space for new dreams.