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?