Hello everyone, I am not dead.
When I wrote my last post, I had no intention of taking a hiatus. But that is what has happened. You see, we are moving house. Let me start at the beginning.
Maus and I have always had a vague plan that when we were dogless we would lease our house in Perth and have a flat as our Perth base. As you all know, sadly, last year our three babies died.
Then … just before Christmas we got an email from our real estate agent advising us that the long-term tenant in our flat had given notice. Maus immediately took it as a sign. We would move in. And so we are.
So, for the last six weeks, I have been renovating our garden, disposing of excess possessions and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. I cannot believe:
- how much work is involved;
- how neglected the garden was;
- how dirty the house was (it looked clean); and
- how much stuff we had.
We have not stopped. There have been trips to the tip, multitude trips to the op shop. Ute loads of stuff carted to Bridgetown and still there is stuff everywhere.
Today, I started boxing up my books – my life on the shelf. One set for Bridgetown and one set for the Op shop.
I have always said books reflect your life. Mine certainly do.
We have about 3 metres of photo albums – photos of our families, photos of our dogs, and photos of every holiday we went on before digital cameras were the go. They all went to Bridgetown, but I think their life is limited. We never look at the photos and there is no one who will ever be interested in them.
I still have my school maths book and my literature books. It is interesting that those are the books I decided to keep. Surprisingly, there are virtually no psychology books, commerce books or law books. Clearly, university knocked those interests out of me. Only one university text-book from these faculties survives, my first year statistics book. Geez I’m weird!
There are a multitude of Australian and Victorian literature books. This is what I was studying when I met Maus. Alas, I never finished that degree. Love and hormones won the day.
So what to throw out and what to keep? With the poetry books, I decided, if the poet touched me at the time, they stay. If I look at the book and say, “Who’s he/she?” It goes out. Of course my Randolph Stow poetry book must stay. I still remember his poem, Forbidden Fruit. And William Blake stays – who doesn’t love The Tyger? And Judith Wright and Robert Frost. Oh, too many went into the keep box. Then there were the plays, piles of them. All the ones I studied at school and uni and more, many more. George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Miller, Ibsen, Oscar Wilde, and of course, Shakespeare. All the books of short stories went, something had to go.
And then there was the sexual politics stage – feminism and gay liberation – (oh, those were the days), and my photography stage and my Photoshop stage and my technical analysis stage and my tarot card reading stage and my arty farty stage and my pottery stage and my cross stitching stage and my penguin stage – yes, you read right, penguin stage. Oh … the ‘how to succeed at work’ books and management theory books and how to get rich books, went. I don’t think I will be needing them. All the cookbooks and gardening books survived as did the soap making books. The wine books and computer books went – they date.
And then there are the travel books. There are books on countries I was gunna go to – Canada, China, Turkey, Malta and Micronesia and those that I have been to – France, Italy, Lebanon, India, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Ireland and Thailand. There is our old battered 1981-82 copy of Let’s Go Europe that was carried around in our back pack for a year And there are the foreign dictionaries …and the English dictionaries – The Shorter Oxford and the Macquarie – I am fussy about my dictionaries. All my life I have coveted a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary – all 20 volumes of it. Secretly, deep down, I still do, but where would I put it?
And the memoirs – they all stayed.
The novels are interesting. The trash can go, everyone has their fair share of trash. I am proud to say that there are lots and lots of classics and I have read them all. The Brontes, Dickens, Thackery, Hardy, Steinbeck, Joyce, Trollope … There is Daphne Du Maurier too!! Ten in fact. Gee that was a stage. I was a young dreamy teen at the time. They must go. I will never go through that stage again.
There are lots of books by Indian authors and about India. That was my Indian stage. They can stay. So too can the dog books, we may get two babies.
Interestingly, there are an inordinate number of ‘How to be Happy books’ – mmmm, I wonder whether I will need them in the future?
I am sitting here looking at the last few books on the shelf – Lassie and Gilligan’s Island stare back at me. I remember when mum bought me those books. Do they stay or do they go? No, they go, I can’t imagine going through another Lassie or Gilligan’s Island stage.
My life is now in boxes.
I kept all these books for two reasons. Firstly, they represent who I am and secondly, I always thought I might reread them when I retired.
Funnily, since we have lost our babies, I have taken up reading with a vengeance. I have scoured many ‘100 best books’ lists and am making my way through them. I buy three or four at a time but still I am reading them faster than I can buy them. So the other day, I took a book from my shelf that was on a ‘best books’ list and started reading it. It would have been thirty years since I last read it. Sadly, I had no recollection of it, what so ever. It was like I was reading it for the first time. Maybe I will read them again. Why not?