March 16, 2011

Room Rhapsody

Rooms are like clothes and photographs- they tell stories. As I look around mine this afternoon- my mind goes tripping down the trails of my life... remembering what has been that has brought what I see around me.

Tucked into the glass doors of my secretary I see the pictures of people I hold dear (from California, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Georgia...). Above them are verses which I have printed on parchment paper and magazine cuttings of India. Behind the pictures I have lists of IP, e-mail, and street addresses, letters, and a piece of paper on which my dad has scrawled guitar chords.

Inside my secretary it all gets even better. I hide my few paperbacks behind the glass doors and verses. I have my Hindi dictionary and Indian travel guides,  empty and half-filled notebooks made with hand-crafted paper, anthologies, and several Russian novels. The top shelf has my CDs and DVDs (Pride and Prejudice!) and the bottom shelf has my diary and Bible and hair-spray (which I have yet to use but am glad I have) and a canister of Starbucks Hot Chocolate powder which my siblings gave me for my birthday.

The drawers below my desk each have a specific purpose. One has all my scarves (I have a good twenty, half are from India). Another is completely devoted to letter-crafting- I have stacks of stationary, boxes of cards and envelopes, and a couple compact water-color sets (a nod to past and present wistful artistic leanings).

The bottom drawer is a mystery drawer. I'm not exactly sure what it's for. Generally speaking it's hard to open. But I know that inside I have a scarlet tapestry almost as large as me- covered in patchwork and embroidery which I bought in Pushkar, India. And also in that drawer I have a painting done by an artist who I thought was going to shake my hand but who kissed it instead.

My bookshelves are my favorite part of my room. I have about fifty small, gilt-edged books  (arranged by color) from a collector's library which grace the bookshelves over my windows- flanked by carved elephants. My main bookshelf (which my sister and father made when I was six) has lots and lots of hard-backs, all there for one of four merits: being very old (i.e. 100-200 years), being very beautiful (inner beauty counts!), or being on India or poetry. The exceptions are my diaries. There are four currently full- massive bulks full of my scribblings. (And if you ever see them in person, don't you dare read them or I'll have to do you in!)

In other places I have stacks of my drawings from 2nd grade and the novels I wrote when I was twelve and thirteen. And somewhere I have packages of letters tied up in ribbons- and a  shoe-box in which there are the sleeves of my favorite pajamas from when I was nine, a pine-cone from a sidewalk in California,  an empty shampoo bottle from Venice, a wind-up musical bell, shards from a wooden box, and magazine cuttings (who's value, I happen to know, lies solely with the blue-eyed-blonds they feature. One of them is of Prince Harry- you will forgive me.)

I happen to think Shakespeare wasn't really Shakespeare. He only willed away  his second-best bed (by which we know he hated his wife) and a great deal of money. Could someone so in love with language really not possess a single book for posterity to gossip about?

But then again, I think if I was Shakespeare my biographers would have a hay-day with my will. From the bottle-caps (which I collected when I was ten) they'd think I drank.  From my three plants they would have no idea I killed five. They would probably think I actually used my hairspray. And as I wouldn't will my bed (best or second best) to anyone  they would probably come up with something about me hating men.

But while I must concede that the contents of one's room are wide-open to misinterpretation, I yet maintain that they are also glimpses into entire lives- open to countless conjectures and hypotheses.

Thus I sit here and wonder freely: what would I find in your room? And what would it tell me about you?


  1. I totally get the Prince Harry thing. ;P

    Ah, this was so delightful to read. There is so much to appreciate in the crafting of one's own space. [/perhaps a fan of "A Room of Her Own"]

  2. I really liked these glimpses into your travels and reading/writing life! Thanks for the invitation to take my own readers on a tour of my own room. You inspired me--I linked up to this post today as part of Charity Singleton's ( "There & Back Again," a project to encourage mingling in the network.

    I'm so glad to highlight you and send people your way!

  3. Hey, thanks Ann! *checks out your post* (AAAAH! I love it!)

  4. L.E. - This was simply beautiful - and your room reveals a beautiful you: interesting, creative, wistful, intelligent, curious, adventurous! I'm glad to get to know you a little through your room.

    I am stopping over from Ann Kroeker's link - There and Back Again. It would be fun if you could join us some Thursday.

  5. Lovely pics... Just passin thru I think you follow my site Have tried to sign up to be a follower of yours ??? not working for some reason
    we have a lovely spring like day here today....

  6. Hi, Sunny! (I still remember the last time you passed through :-) :-)). Hmmm, well, I know that I've gotten several new followers in the past week or so so I don't know what could be the problem. Hope it gets fixed whatever it is! (Ah, I'm very disappointed! It snowed ALL DAY TODAY!)