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Thursday, November 10, 2011

My personal work spaces and books

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William Blake's workroom and deathroom
painted by Frederic James Shields


"In the universe, there are things that are known,
and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”

—William Blake

Friends Brendan of Oran's Well, Hedgewitch of Verse Escape and Mark Kerstetter of The Bricoleur bared their bookshelves and journals for us to see, shone a light on their work spaces, and encouraged others to do the same. What drives us to do such a thing? Something in me wants a peek at theirs and yours, and something else in me wants to show you mine. Will you be utterly bored? Intrigued? Curious? Will you relate to my shelves a little, or not at all? Personal libraries are just that, personal, intimately personal, driven by soul and spirit in ways we can only speculate about. I love that even the ways we organize our collections reflect our personalities. That and where we sit and do what we do: read and write.

So here goes.

(I'm not showing you our collection of classic and contemporary works of literary fiction, or children's books. Maybe another time.)

I have four personal bookcases and three workspaces, but I'll show you one two workspaces. I don't use a desk, just my laptop. I don't journal much any more, as writing longhand is nearly impossible for any longer than a card or note because of carpal tunnel. I have many poetry books on my shelves at the university office as well.

Bookcase #1: Poetry 

This is one of my three study spaces: the corner of the living room,
behind a screen my Grandma Olive made, creating a makeshift private space.
The chair is old, as you can see, from my grandparents;
pen and ink with watercolor on the wall: Paris;
Navajo rug inherited from my great grandparents,
who were explorers and mountain climbers;
stack of NY Review of Books waiting to be read




Most important here:
Jane Kenyon, Rilke, and Neruda;
Cartier-Bresson from MoMA




Key here:
Volumes of my mentor: Diane Wakoski;
Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections


Anthologies from college


Bookcase #2 Poetry and Spirituality, mixed

This one is in the bedroom.
The Chinese fellow on the wall is practically a brother,
I love him so much; and hanging from him is a talisman
made by my friend Alek Lindus in Greece for protection;
I think of this photo (found in an antique store) and talisman
as representative of all my friends around the world
with a charmed prayer for their safety and health;
my mother's waste basket, which I remember by her desk;
my dressing table is to the right of it.


Notable here:
Pagels, Moyers, Gospel of Mary Magdalene;
much study from these books as I began to rethink
spirituality from my religious past in Baptist churches;
I don't know where Eckhart Tolle's Power of Now is,
I must have given it away.


Years of studying good poems here:


Extra poetry stack in my spare room workspace;
anything that's stacked, not in a bookcase, is being read daily or weekly;
most important here: Rumi and Dickey


Bookshelf #3: Spirituality and Paris


Notable here:
James Hillman, Jack Miles' biography of God,
Jung's Answer to Job, and my grandfather's book on astrology


Most important here:
Gurdjieff, Ken Wilber's Brief History of Everything (!),
Oxford very short introduction books on the right,
bought in the Oxford bookstore:
these two on the Celts and Quantum Theory


Getting down into the France reference books now:


Three very significant books here:
The NIV Study Bible, Rob Brezsny's Pronoia
perhaps my most valued book: my Plan de Paris,
a street by street map of Paris (the blue and red one)



Bookcase #4 Oversized:
Flowers, Plants, Art, History

This is the bookcase Grandma Olive picked up
secondhand somewhere in NYC and painted.




Here you go, Montag; I had this closeup photo of the painting above on file:





Notable here:
Carolyn Roehm flower books, The Way We Live,
a fabulous look at dwellings and lifestyles around the world;
Better Homes & Gardens reference book
standing up in the middle, importantly;
the "Donald" and "El Freda" mini-planters
we found at a secondhand store:
guess which of us is which?



My primary workspace:
The Red Chair

I sit here in the dark every morning, starting at 3AM.


Current stack of books read daily or weekly:


Table by the red chair with handy stack and quilting thread;
glasses of varying strength, for reading books and for quilting


Collection of postcards from museums used for bookmarks;
thread and scissors for quilting;
my Kindle


What's on the Kindle:

most notably:
War & Peace by Tolstoy,
Fermor's A Time of Gifts
Rumi's Big Red Book





Phew! Well, I wonder what you'll find interesting.

This is one of those exercises in which it's hard not to immediately focus on one's own spaces when seeing someone else's. At least that's what I found looking at Brendan's, Hedgewitch's and Mark's. Won't you join us?


Painting at top: Frederic James Shields, "William Blake’s Workroom and Deathroom," c. 1880.


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57 comments:

The Solitary Walker said...

This was fascinating! I want to do the same! Watch my space.

Margaret said...

This is very enjoyable! I have bookcases stuffed with children's books and old homeschooling reference books, of course, and John's study has one whole wall lined with books (1/2 of mine have made there way there... just like I take over the bathroom counter :)

But I do have a few spaces that are "mine" - my special books. One area that drives "neat as a pin" John crazy is by the side of my bed. I bring a book in and drop it on the floor when I go to sleep and "add" it to the stack each morning. (It is getting pretty tall!)

I know books like we have would make some people shudder, but for us I believe it is a warm hug. The funny thing, if we went into a new or used bookstore (love used ones) we would find a few we just couldn't live without! :)

And that red chair by the window... how many times have you fallen asleep right there? :)

...and by the way, the Bedlam post has been on my mind quite a bit. John had never heard of it and was quite amazed the "insane" were used for a source of entertainment...

Brendan said...

Very much what I imagined, especially that big writing chair with the stack of books next to it! (Though red was not quite the color -- more like goldenrood in winter, I guess ...) My stacks sure speak to your stacks, what a collection together they would make ... Gotta get that volume of Rilke's letters to Cezanne ... Who wrote that old edition of Lady of the Lake, and do I espy a copy of Bachelard's Poetics of Space that I was reading at 3:30 this morning? That Donald Hall collection Without was tough, a good primer for living through the death of a much-loved, fellow poet ... Seems like everyone has a collection of Emily Dickinson, and I'm happy to see a volume of Keats there (epitaph on his gravestone, "His words were writ on water") Yay for the Eileen Pagels Beyond Belief, and isn't The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony maginificent? ... OK, enough panting, You know, both my parents were early risers, but my mom was really the archetype of early studies, getting up at 4 to read her Bible and pray. I think we do very much the same thing, though our texts and psalms are only somewhat different. Thanks SO much for sharing!. - Brendan

Louise Gallagher said...

This was fascinating and a beautiful stroll this morning to wander through your rooms, your books, and to see your soul so gently and lovingly exposed.

My quest for this weekend -- to do the same but... lol -- I'll have to tidy up the stacks as they are everywhich way, shelves are also piled with jewellry I have been collecting for some art pieces for Christmas and binders are all over for reference and...

oh dear.... all those excuses for my clutter :)

Thanks for this -- lovely!

Friko said...

So that's who you are. I thought as much.

At first I thought I saw the emphasis was mainly on American writing and poetry; when I looked a little closer I found some European favourites too.

I would find it very hard to do what you did here, our books are all on shelves along walls in two rooms; cookery books, reference books, history books, biographies and poetry books have their own, separate, shelves.

It might be fun doing as you and Mark and the others did; I'd have to take non fiction off their shelves and arrange them in piles for the purpose, which means they'd get a duster flicked over them at the same time.

One thing I have noticed both in your arrangements as well as Mark's, you are both a lot less tidy than I am. I am almost ashamed of my need to categorise and alphabeticise. (Don't tell Inge, she'd have a word for it). In my defence: I always find what I'm looking for!

Beloved has a collection of early black Penguins, all the European classics. He is the untidiest person you can imagine, but in this collection literature, philosophy, etc. is arranged by country: Latin writers, Greek writers, French writers, German writers, Far Eastern writers, all of them in their own little department.

hedgewitch said...

Fascinating, Ruth. My first exclamation was for the burnt umber throw--I cuddle in one that appears identical every morning with my little dog on my lap. Your books are just a feast of the senses and mind, especially the old venerable ones, and as I said when I first saw Brendan's initial post that started this, you are not a true student and reader, I think, till the books take over and dictate where they place themselves. Your system of organization is perfect for reading and getting your hands on what you love the most the quickest, yet seems to flow from a natural sense of congruity, not an imposed or artificial order. The Edith Hamilton and the Yellow Fairy Book first captivated me, we share the Norton Anthology, which I read almost daily, and the James Dickey and Frank O'Hara make my hands itch to open them. You make me realize I only know Neruda from reading him online. Definitely need to remedy that.
You have a beautifully arranged workspace, and a full and enticing library--thanks for rising to the challenge and sharing it with us. It gives such an added dimension both to the sense of personality, and to the work.

rosaria said...

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing. I took a peek at the books we have in common too.

Pat said...

This was so interesting! Thank you for opening up your home to us. It is warm and lived in and I love it! That bookshelf that your Grandmother bought and painted is gorgeous. I love that you blended old and new, that you have things from your grandparents and parents mixed in with your own things. And finally, this just tugged at my heart because I SO miss having a home where I can display my books, some on the shelf that my father made, and just put out my "things" that make me feel loved and at home. So much of my stuff is in storage and I miss it!

Maureen said...

We share quite a few of the same titles. I have all of Kenyon's work, and I studied Neruda and have his work in Spanish and English. Is there any poet who doesn't have at least one Neruda title?

That first image said, this is going to be a home with a lot of books.

I love your picture of the Chinese man and what he represents to you.

My shelves are filled with poetry, biography, and art books; my husband's with mostly business, philosophy, and religion books. We could use our own card catalogue.

Thank you for a wonderful look in on your spaces.

The Broad said...

Absolutely fascinating. And I confess I covet your big red chair and footstool. I, too have four bookcases -- but the arrangements are rather haphazard and one bookcase I share with CDs and photograph albums. This is a lovely post and I thank you for sharing your personal spaces.

Cait O'Connor said...

You could leave me in your space and I would be happy - so many books I covet there. So well organised too and beautifully too. I may attempt this sometime.

Patricia said...

Gramdma Olive had a mean talent. Lucky you that you were the recipient of this lovely piece of furniture. Thank you so much for opening up your world to all of us. I love that the books seem well worn and loved.

Miss Jane said...

I'm just going to make a little squeak of joy about the Lang Fairy Tale Book. My sisters and I had the whole series in paperback (gifts from my now deceased oldest sister). I dwelt in those books growing up.
This is a very fun exercise. Thanks so much for sharing.

ds said...

Your spaces are captivating, the red chair is to die for, and the books, the books! Hooray for The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, hooray for Otherwise, hooray for all of the other wonders that form your mind (or part of it), some few of which we share. The most recent is Moore's Care of the Soul, acquired just this week because of the discussion here (I linked to you, btw). See what you do? ; )

But really, 3 AM?!!! We meet each other coming and going...

Arti said...

Ruth, this is totally gratifying! It's a delight to see books, and art, and antique shelves and furniture, these photos are poetry in themselves. I'm fascinated by the juxtaposition of the old and new. Glad that you share your Kindle titles too. And the Mac Book Pro, that's what I'm typing on. And thanks for the link to the others, I'm in good company.

Emille said...

Browsing in someone else's library is a delight:) I'm curious about the book "Pronoia." Thanks for sharing somthing so private!

erin said...

it is interesting - what is present - and what isn't. at least, in relation to me and to everyone else. always the comparing. this is how we know one another. this is how we know ourselves. we are mirrors, each to each.

as i scrolled through your shots i was pleased to find messes:) just small and manageable ones, but real ones. little messes that show life, your human imprint.

see, now, damn the kindle. imagine if you only had a kindle. what a sorry shot that would be. (yes, yes, down with the machines!:)

my house? well, here's a truth that came to me while reading you. my books from before...all in shambled boxes in the attic...some sold...some given away...some defiled by mice. interject a decade plus marriage. where books were concerned, insert elevator music. and now, my house is exploding again with books upon all surfaces. just now i place my empty hamburg container carefully on books beside me. my books will get dirty, as everything in my life gets dirty. this is ok. this is me being me.

xo
erin

Oliag said...

What a lovely look into your inner sanctum Ruth:) What is it about bookcases that is so fascinating? I sometimes even find myself getting out a magnifying glass to look at the titles in magazine photos of peoples homes...A true look at their inner self...their loves, their obsessions. I love a cluttered bookcase...or a nice big stack.

How can I not love your fabulous red chair too...

Ruth said...

Thanks, Robert! I look forward to your spaces and books!

Ruth said...

Margaret, thank you for your thoughts about your spaces and books, and how we as couples share them. We find that over time we have compromised and come closer to one another's way of being in these spaces. I'm a little less organized than I used to be. ;)

So, the red chair shows the residue of sleep and dreams? Yes indeed. Nap times on Sundays, and nap times when I wake up too early (midnight is too early, 3AM is not) and fall back asleep, it's usually on the chair, not in bed.

Bedlam lingers in my mind too. Sometimes I wonder what brings these things back to us. Why did Robert and Stephen do this project? What needs to happen in our consciousness?

Ruth said...

Ah, Brendan, my friend. I love your engaged response with what you see!

Well, I do have that other goldenrod chair in the corner of the living room, you know. But I do love red, though maybe not as deeply as you love blue. Maybe it's time I paid attention to it, like that Big Red book of Rumi's. Actually the color of the Rumi book in the stack by my chair has become mine. It's a little oversaturated in this photo, but it's more of a soft brownish orange. Mmmm, red.

The Lady of the Lake is by Sir Walter Scott. I can't believe you noticed it. In fact I'm going to email you photos of it, because it is a gorgeous little book, leather bound, with gold embossed lettering and gold-edged pages. It's a poem in six cantos. It is one of several volumes I got from my brother-in-law from an old house they bought, and the previous owners left, including the Yellow Fairy book.

Yes, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony is magnificent! I haven't gotten far, but I adore it. I sip books, and while that is lovely for savoring, it is not good for finishing. But what does that matter, right?

As for mothers who rise early, mine was up at 4 to pray too! She knelt in the dark of the living room and prayed through every country's leaders, at that time all 250 of them (or some such number). She had a genius mind that she applied to God's work. I love that you apply your genius mind to your divine work, and I apply my simple mind to mine.

Oh, and The Poetics of Space . . . I must have picked that up on the free table at work, from the books professors purged from their offices, and then forgot about it! So when you mentioned it recently, I went and bought it on my Kindle. :| And then found out that I had actually bought a summary, and not the book. :| Anyway, it took this post, the photo, and you noticing it for me to remember that I have the book. Me so happy.

Thank you for inspiring this whole show-and-tell endeavor!

Shari Sunday said...

Ruth, I enjoyed this peek into your life. I confess that more than the books I loved the picture of your red chair and your Grandma Olive's bookcase. I was inspired to take pictures of my own workspace and hopefully "my" brand new office at my new job which is only a few hours a week, but it will help financially to make ends meet and I feel so inspired to be working with my friend, Dr. Linda Hebert Ford from her company, Worldview Publishing.

souldipper said...

A younger woman told me of going through huge transitions which means she'll be adjusting to shared living with someone other than a husband.

I suggested she and a prospective roommate each list, in priority, all the things they have found difficult about living with others.

She said, "Well I know what would be at the top of my list...having clutter on top of counters and tables. I want them clean and bare!"

She made me think of my home. Bits and pieces lie about because they have purpose and substance to their existence. I never thought of my home as cluttered, but perhaps that is how people see it.

BUT! When I walk into a home, clutter is the first thing I seek. What have they been doing? What is important to them? What interests do they pursue? In a nutshell: Who are they?

What a long-winded way of saying that I would love walking into your home. I see openness, warmth, culture, intelligence...shall I go on?

What a delight, Ruth.

Deborah said...

So many books of such diverse subjects - my own bookshelves are scant in comparison! When it came to the big red chair and sidetable, I laughed. How on earth could you have time for quilting, too?? And writing your own words? You make incredibly good use of your time, Ruth, and being up at 3AM in solitude must surely help.

Ruth said...

Louise, I'm glad you enjoyed my tour! But oh! Something in me does not want you to tidy up any clutter! I want to see it all, as it is, the way you live with it. Yet I myself tidied a wee bit for these photos (like, I dusted). But if it helps you organize yourself, which we all have to do now and then, that's a good thing, right? I have found the responses to this post so interesting, showing a range of messy and neat! I look forward to yours!

Ruth said...

Friko, your engaged comment gets at our very humanness, I think. Some aspects of our lives are deeply important, calling out for us to attend to them closely, in one way or another. Sometimes I look at the messes in my little world (not visible here) and wonder why I let them go? I want to take better care of my things, including perhaps neatifying some of it. But I have to say that I know just where most of my books are, even if they seem not to be arranged in much of an order. I bet you have a very interesting collection of books!

Ruth said...

Hedge! Thank you for your enthused response to these intimate spaces! In this exercise, I really have felt that added dimension you address. For example seeing your horticulture books gave weight to what I knew about you, but only see glimpses of. I really love how we have found our common loves, like those melancholy novels of yours: Vanity Fair, Adam Bede and Jude the Obscure. And I so agree with you that there are authors and poets I know from the Internet that I long to hold in my hands, like Neruda for you. The sensuality of books! Well, I think you and I and others here could go on for some good time about all this. And maybe we should!

Ruth said...

Hi, Rosaria! It's fun isn't it? Thank you for peeking in here.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Pat! I love your comment, but I feel a bittersweet pang that it caused that wistful longing for your things in storage. :( Thank you for touring my stuff with me. I'm glad you like my grandma's cabinet, which is one of my favorite material things. I grew up with it in our home, so it is extra special to me.

Ruth said...

Maureen, thank you so much. It is clear from your blog persona that you are a very literary person, in such lovely ways. I assumed (and must have read you somewhere too) that you have studied Neruda in English and in Spanish, which led you in some way to title your book Neruda's Memoirs. I am pleased that you love my Chinese man and what he symbolizes. I have another Chinese man upstairs, who looks to be on the Silk Road, with a high stack of tin pots on his back, for sale, I assume.

Ruth said...

To The Broad, thanks for stopping in for my tour! One thing I am interested in about this experience of sharing and peeking into the spaces of others is whether we will alter anything as a result!

Ruth said...

Cait, it feels so good to have you say that you would be happy in my spaces! To have something so personal resonate with you and others is a thrill. I would love to see into yours if you decide to share!

Ruth said...

Hi, Patricia! I am glad that you, an artist of the highest order, like that cabinet Grandma Olive painted. She was an illustrator for World Book, a designer for Vogue dress patterns, and a wallpaper designer for Thibault, among other things. Quite an extraordinary talent she was. Thank you for stopping in for the tour, and for commenting.

Ruth said...

Thanks, MJ! I'm delighted that you noticed the Fairy Tale Book. It is one of the volumes I was given by my brother-in-law Hank from the house he and my sister bought with a well stocked library. I have a few of these old books, which I had never seen before. To know that you grew up with them is so cool! See, these are connections that just open up my limited world, and why I love blogging!

I hope you will consider showing us yours!

Ruth said...

ds! Welcome, my deeply knowledgeable friend, to my little library that is mostly sipped, but deeply savored in those small doses. Yes, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, which I have only begun, but am in love with! And oh! I am so happy you have linked to Care of the Soul (and me, thank you), a book which I've begun to reread. Do you find yourself rereading books after a few years and reveling in how you have changed, upped your awareness, and harvest so much more from it?

Yes, 3AM. You know, if I don't wake up then, and get up "late," say 5AM, then I feel that I have lost a treasure. :-)

Ruth said...

Arti, I am so happy that you feel those connections here! This has been a wonderful experience for me, to peer into the libraries of Brendan, Hedgewitch and Mark, and for you and others to peek into mine and feel how we are the same. I love that! Perhaps you will show us something of yours?

Ruth said...

Hello and welcome, Emille! Thank you for taking the tour with me. Pronoia is a treasure trove of bits, bobs, poems, songs and other encouragements to recognize that the universe intends to shower us with blessings. Rob Brezsny is a bawdy and free wonder of spirit: part jester, part alchemist. My thinking is truly transformed by him weekly via his email newsletter, which you can sign up for at freewillastrology.com. I am not a close follower of astrology, but his insights into the positive in this life are nothing but inspiring.

Ruth said...

erin! What I hear you saying is that messes of books = a happy life!! This is what I feel, in spades! There was a time when Don and I argued about clutter and piles, strangely from opposite sides than we normally would: he to get rid of the "clutter" of books. But to me, piles of books are the most beautiful of "decorations." What else contains so much inside such a small space?

As for the kindle. I was averse. Totally. Then I sat next to a man, a former Princeton football player, on a plane. I couldn't take my eyes off his Nook! Finally we talked, and I told him that I have always had a difficult time with comprehension and need to read things twice to get them. But I did not feel that as I read over his shoulder! I had instant comprehension. He said there are studies that verify this! For whatever reason, me, an English major, am witnessing the transformation of my reading habits via the kindle. I read for longer periods and don't seem to care how long War and Peace is, for example. I just read.

But books. I could not live without them, their sensuality, their bodies, in all their sensuality.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Oliag! You know, I'm reflecting on what it must be that draws us into each other's bookshelves. It is like browsing at a bookstore, but is more like witnessing the anthology of a person's life choices. We who love books want to see how another person's life has shaped their library, and vice versa.

I'm glad you like my chair. :-)

Ruth said...

Oh, Shari, I love the sound of your new job! I know that you love books, and publishing, and so this sounds like something you will enjoy. I hope so. I'm glad you like my chair and cabinet. You can see that the chair is well used and shows signs of hair and body oils! I think it's better as a result of human contact. :-)

Ruth said...

Thank you for your great comment, Amy!

You get at an important aspect of Don's and my home life: we are on opposite ends of the spectrum in many ways, and we have compromised over our 33 years together. How could we not? I am less fussy than I was, and he is [perhaps] a bit more so. :-)

What you suggested to the younger woman sounds quite helpful, because laying out expectations at the start is so valuable. Are they realistic? Will there be friction beyond what they can stand?

That said, I'm glad you feel openness, warmth, culture, intelligence here! I wonder how much of this is true, and how much is what I wish for?

Ruth said...

Hi, Deborah! Thank you for saying I use my time well, but so often I wonder! I really don't, and if you saw me through the day, I believe you would see how sedentary I am. I am quilting a crib quilt for my unborn grandson, and I wonder if I will get it done before he is ten! As for getting up so early, chalk it up to menopause. But I love the hours of solitude and miss them when I sleep in until 5AM.

Jeanie said...

This is SUCH a terrific post! What I find fun is that we share a number of commons (like Paris, astrology, spirituality) and I see lots of other fun things that come as no surprise, after reading you. I've done these "show your workspace" (one fairly recently after redoing the art room) but never one of the bookshelf. I must keep that in my ideas for some cold winter's day when that would be the perfect topic!

Amanda said...

there are few things more intimate or enjoyable than perusing another's bookshelves, and this was one especially delightful journey. we have very similar tastes - the bookshelf next to my bed is a jumble of quantum physics, neruda, jung and somewhere hiding in there is eckhart tolle. oh, and some freya stark and lawrence durrell thrown in for good measure!

lovely, lovely post. as solitary walker said, i would love to do a similar one someday!

Pauline said...

Loved getting a glimpse into your life like this - books say so much about us as well as about their authors! I recognize many of the titles and jackets as they reside on my shelves, too. No wonder your poems are such works of art - just look at the ones you admire! Long ago I posted a piece about my study, A small section carved out of my one room cottage. I may just have to repost it so you can "visit" me, too!

freefalling said...

I can "see" you better now.

Mark Kerstetter said...

I think were I present the first books I'd reach for would be the 'Gospel of Mary Magdalene' and then the Diane Wakoski volumes (and I need to get a nice Frank O'hara collection).

Did you say your grandma painted that bookcase? It's stunning! And your red chair/workspace looks like a great place to work. I noticed you have a copy of that very large little paperback anthology 'The Voice that is Great within Us.' I bought that as a teenager and discovered a lot of great poets that way.

I'm going to see you now at 3:AM in that red chair (as I am now going to see Brendan at that hour through the window of his house). I don't know how you two do it. I'm by nature a night person. Left to my own devices, I just get warmed up at about 11PM. Between 3 and 4 would be bedtime; noon would be breakfast.

Thanks for sharing these, Ruth - loved the look.

Marcie said...

Amazing collection of books..and I love how you've got them categorized. So well-thought thru. Always interesting to see how others 'think' and 'work'.

George said...

Sorry I am a bit late in commenting on this wonderful post. I saw this a few minutes before departing for South Carolina and I have not had a chance to respond until now. In any event, this is a great idea, and it's fascinating to see these intimate surroundings of your literary life. I think I will follow up with some photos of my own study and bookshelves. What better way is there for us to get to know one another?

Ginnie said...

You would be so disillusioned with me and my lack of books now, sister! What I sold or gave away before moving could have sunk a ship. Now I'm left with almost nothing...except all my astrology, etc. books.

Will I ever build up another library? Time will tell. I don't read anything to speak of these days. And surely it shows? All I do now is travel, watch, look and try to listen...with my camera in hand.

namelessneed said...

thanx for daring the sharing/ Bravo

ds said...

Well, I'm back, trying to answer your question. I love your library, and don't think it "little" at all, but vast in all the directions it branches into. Sipping is delicious; I sip, too. Sometimes gorge. It depends.

Anyway, the answer to your question is yes. Don't we all have books that we need to read over and over again, as talismans? To set the compass straight?

Montag said...

Your Mum's seems to have had a Louis Comfort Tiffany wastebasket. That is unique.
I like the positioning of bookcases directly in front of doorways. It sort of makes one more aware of both the books and the doors.

Do you think you could get close-ups of the painting on bookcase #4?
Needn't be a panorama, just 2 or 3 shots that could reveal its ancient conceits.

Dutchbaby said...

Oh how I love visiting your home and browsing through your books without wondering if you think I'm being too nosy. I adore how you envelop yourself in poetry books.

I love the Cartier-Bresson photo - I saw the same exhibit at the SFMOMA. I'm wondering if there are any color plates in the Yellow Fairy Book.

Grandma Olive is quite the artist. All that negative space in the sky and water may make this image a great candidate for a future book cover that wraps from front to back.

Is one of those turquoise/green containers a Real McCoy? The color seems right.

Carolyn Roehm, what in inspiration she is.

Love your big poofy red chair and I can visualize you there early in the morning, illuminated by the light of your Mac. When I'm blogging in a big chair like that, I like to put a pillow under my elbow so that my wrist does not buckle and my elbow is never at an angle of less than 90 degrees. I think it helps keep carpal tunnel syndrome at bay.

Montag said...

A soldier and a young lady at sunset. The soldier's helmet looks like a form of a Greek plumed helmet, but there is no reason why the soldier would be wearing it in this situation.

They are ancients, yet already they inhabit the ruins of ancient civilization.
The arch on the right is architecturally impossible, even for ruins, so this tells us something of the painter and their exposure to the theme.

I like the reds of the sun in the leaves; the leaves themselves must be reddish or yellowish since green would not reflect red light. It is the change of seasons, autumn and the coming of winter... that's why I think it is sunset: since there are clouds along the horizon, there must be a spot to the left where the sun is unobstructed so that it directly shines onto those red leaves (Otherwise, no vibrant red glow) and the sun must be in the west, indicating the storm behind the clouds is approaching us... the threat of winter.

It has a wonderful texture

ksam said...

Lovely post! Not sure I'd be able to do the same. But, also very happy to see that you too, stack and squeeze books in where ever, including on top of books already neatly shelved! Sometimes there just ain't enough room! You have to make it up as you go.

mystic rose said...

You are so rich! :) Just wanted to let you know I was browsing through, primarily looking for inspiration for a back yard garden, but found this treasure of a post :)