relative deprivation

I hoard books, apparently.   He wants a clutter-free environment, stark–if you ask me.  I want an office filled with wall to wall books, a library with an enormous chair and ottoman that smells like leather and orange blossoms.  I want a room, or even a nook, that’s just mine, to plaster photographs of friends, and to frame my scarves.  A girl den.  "The whole house is yours," he insists.  "What do I get to decorate?"  Yeah, but everything is a compromise.  He has to approve the choices.  It’s why I want a space just for me, to be a girl, aside from my closet. 

I compromised and moved what he perceived as clutter (my books) into a corner of our upstairs "game room" area.  "Can you hide the books you don’t really use or need, that are just plain ugly?"  He’s speaking of Dogs For Dummies, as his example.  And I understand, I do, but back off.  It’s bad enough that I’m now moving all my books into a corner upstairs.  "Yeah, but I see that corner every time I leave the bedroom."  So play a little game with yourself, spin and close your eyes, then see if you can find your way to the staircase.  I have a case of e-ville today.  I know he just wants to hear that I’ll try to stop hoarding.  "And don’t use the writer excuse," he adds, "because you don’t write near your books.  You write in coffee shops or in bed."  I just want to hear, "Since you’ve moved them all up here, do whatever you wish with them."  It’s a dumb argument and one clearly not worth having, but this is how it goes, in the unpacking.

Projectroom_1 "Can’t you just put some of them in boxes in a closet?"  Why don’t I put you in the closet? "What about the ones you’ll never even use or open?"  I like to know they’re there.  You never know from where inspiration will strike.  And just then, I spot a "Will write for food," type of book about making a living as a food writer, and whack, inspiration strikes upside the head: an image conjures of my hitting him in the skull with a cast-iron skillet.  Repeatedly. 

So here’s my new job: dammit, I will at the very least, once a week, get an idea from a new book and blog about it.  Because the books really do inspire me, and aside from Brandy’s Piano Bar, I don’t feel more alive anywhere than when I’m surrounded by books.  I wish I could make a bookstore wing, with arts and crafts tables like this one (all from Pottery Barn).  It’s a nook, where I can play my music on repeat.  There will be an area for gifts, and gift wrapping (this is the best site I’ve found to get a girl started).  Ideally, the guppies will have their own arts and crafts station nearby, with cushioned seating and storage beneath.  Smocks and easels.  Though I imagine this will need to happen somewhere else.  Our upstairs is carpeted, flawlessly, white–or some variation thereof, but it looks white.  The family living here before us, had four children, and they still managed to maintain this carpet.  Perhaps supplies will be stored in our arts and crafts inspiration wing, but we’ll execute downstairs on the hardwood hickory floors, near the kitchen, the hub of inspiration, anyway. 

Philip wants the upstairs to be a television den because he loves the view.   These are, of course, good "problems" to have, but they still take discussion and compromise.  As I’ve said before, if my things are stowed away in a closet, I won’t use them.  I need them to be out and about, colored pencils at the ready beside stacks of crisp paper.  Ribbon wheels on pillars, eager for the clipping.  And his problem is, he doesn’t want to have to see any of it.  If only we had a basement. 

Gifts"In everyday life, when people experience an increase in affluence, status, or achievement, they raise the standards by which they evaluate their own attainments…When climbing the ladder of success, people look up, not down (Gruder, 1977; Suls & Tesch, 1978; Wheeler & others, 1982).  In this lifetime game of chutes and ladders, I remind myself how lucky I am to even have an upstairs, complete with carpet for crawling, and I realize I’ve worked hard for these things.  He has too, and I need to learn to share more, because I’m not an infant or toddler or toy fox terrier dog.  I’m a woman looking for a room of her own, with a view, some shelves, and a crafts desk.  I’ll get there, and it will be easier knowing that not too long ago at all, I lived in a two room apartment, where I ate on my lap, without room for a dining room table.  The feelings of relative deprivation dissolve when I remember that I was just as happy then, without the "upward comparison" catalog life. 



  1. i read an article somewhere about a spacious laundry room doubling as an arts and crafts hang-out. i like the idea of having a laundry/family area. if i ever had loads of money, i'd do that. sigh. not gonna happen anytime soon.

  2. I'm with Barbara E. walls of books are just soooo wonderful. Very New York apartment. Love the Pottery Barn picture too. I'm a fan of that barn!

  3. We have this same problem…but in reverse. He works from home…and has done since 2001. His job requires gadgets and electronics and the accompanying tangling mess of electrical cords that go with (each in triplicate for three different world power supplies). I've tried utility shelves and boxes for his reels of wires but he claims he can't find them (it's probably true…he can't find them when they're right in front of him either). Then there's the lights, the umbrellas, the cameras he has to have again, in triplicate, because 'I need each one with a different lense on the ready….I don't have time to keep swapping out'.

    Ugh. Good problems to have. You're right. But good problems can still cause problems. Especially when you've been blessed enough to be far removed from the 'real' kind.

  4. We've always lived in homes with walls of books, even when we were students in cramped apartments. When we were at the Univ. of Chicago, I loved to take walks in the evenings and catch glimpses of aparments, condos and houses, stuffed to the ceilings with books. Frankly, I am suspicious of people who live in homes without books, or with one measley book case of books. Who are these people? You will notice that the people on MTV Cribs never have books, only the ubiquitous gigantic-screen television. I wholeheartedly agree with you that books should not be hidden away in a closet (except maybe for the worn out paperback mysteries and sci-fi). Whether one chooses to fill their home with books or instead chooses to display a big ass t.v. says a lot.

    In addition,with your enormous new house, surely you have a room that can be a dedicated arts & crafts room?

  5. my husband only complains about the clutter if it leaves my computer/desk area of our bedroom. when the kitchen table is covered in stuff, he starts making remarks. we eat on tv trays in the living room so i don't know what the deal is… i love books too! the more the merrier!

  6. If my husband asks me one more time why i can't just "throw some books away" i will scream! He really doesn't understand that you never ever throw a book away. I bought each one for a reason and love going back 5 years later and re-reading a good book. I always have a different experience and it would be like throwing away a friend.
    He also calls them "unsightly" – what can i do? I compromised and put half in boxes, half in different bookcases in our (unfortunately shared) office.
    One day I too will have my own room for whatever I want – and it will have books on every table, stacks on the floor, hanging from skyhooks – wherever the hell i want them! One can only compromise so much on some things…

  7. Oh, to have a dream of a workart room. Or just another room!!!

    Well, I have a suggestion that will help you win the argument against getting rid of the "ugly" books. I like a minimalist decor, but hoard books too. So – on my beautiful leaning bookshelves, I have covered all of my books in beautiful coordinated wrapping paper. It really distracts from the cluttered look of so many books and translates to stream-lined monochromatic style! If it blends into the room – maybe he won't notice!!

    Also, if you pack them into boxes, you'll most likely never touch them again – bc once you have the two kiddos, who has time to sort through boxes?? So I would suggest that if they go in a box – that the box is then sent to a good cause – like a women's shelter, so someone can get some use and inspiration from them too!

  8. what strikes me is that Phil's attitude about the display of books is closer to an undeducated blue-collar worker than to an educated professional. Haven't books been part of his life? Doesn't he appreciate them and also derive mental sustanence from them?
    A library is more important than a crafts room. For a gal who is big on name brands and impressing others, I think you need to insist that your books be displayed on bookshelves. It says to those walking into your home that education matters, that reading matters. No matter how harried your life becomes when you have the twins, don't ever give up on reading and writing. It will be easy to think of giving up reading when their moment to moment needs clamor for attention and you feel overwhelmed. But always keep the books sacred.

  9. i'm so glad jenwingard actually has some useful ammo for you b/c all i can come up with is the fact that i want a girl-den just like the one you described: "filled with wall to wall books, a library with an enormous chair and ottoman that smells like leather and orange blossoms. I want a room, or even a nook, that's just mine, to plaster photographs of friends, and to frame my scarves. A girl den!" mmmm…sounds so lovely…like when you find that pefect spot on the couch or bed where your body fits just so and you can nap with a soft throw…Go Girl Dens!

  10. I think houses without books are cold. Even though my husband doesn't come from a family that reads, he loves to do it (read) and together we have amassed hundreds of books. As for the room of your own, you can't find even a nook somewhere in that behemoth house of yours to call your own? You're creative–I'm sure you'll think of something that you and Phil can agree on. I feel very lucky to have a "girl room" (honestly, that's what I call it) since we live in a 1919 900-square-foot semi-detached. There are only three small bedrooms, but we don't have kids yet, so my husband suggested I use one for whatever I want. I painted all the mouldings pale pink, installed a chandelier and use the closet for overflow and gifts (never thought I'd have a gift closet). I've hung some of my purses on an antique clothes tree. It's a work in progress, and yes, there remain the ubiquitous boxes left over from our move a year ago, but it's my space with which to do as I please. It's a nice feeling.

  11. A Room of One's Own. Inspired by the title, still have words of my own in worn pages of paperback college classes. An avid reader since toddler times, I swirled my twins in books. The only things I don't read are studies about books. We need scientific proof of this? Shelve those studies in a dumpster. Babies A and B won't care about a perfectly organized book nook. They will care about their own library cards. And your old books. Your memories. And your mess of your own.

  12. Browse an IKEA catalogue. Not that you need to buy anything there, but notice the "stuff". Sparse their rooms are NOT. Neat as a pin? Yes.
    It was the first thing I thought of when I read your blog.

    Show Philip and yourself how walls of books can look as sleek and modern and CLEAN as you wish.

    a new, empty house is overwhelming. My husband so wanted to keep the "open space" after coming from a 1000 sq. ft. house w/3 kids into our new house twice the size. A little thought about traffic patterns and wasted space could be the answer that satisfies both of you.

    And not to be a show off, but I do have an art-room (!) Its built into the extra head-space in our garage and it is fabulous!

  13. I love books too, but let's face it, after you've read a novel once, how many times do you reread it? It might be time to just throw some of them out or give them to a thrift store.

    You are new to this living together lark, I think. Believe me, sooner or later, however much you want to combine your two personalities in one apartment, sooner or later one will dominate stylistically. It may take a few years…

  14. Hold out for your own room!!! Our new home is not as big as yours (but I can dream! LOL) but I still got my own room. So did he. And it is just as I want it and he stays out. I have all my books (which he insisted must go in my room) and all my collectibles and art and supplies. We have a computer area, but with wireless, I can take my laptop upstairs to my room where my clips and books and all are arranged, and work in surrounding that please me. But he's a bit of a hoarder, being a collector of "political memorabilie" so that we have political books (most autographed, well, the contemporary ones) and his room has most of it and all his buttons. But he allows books downstairs–we have nieces and nephews so we have a shelf set aside downstairs where they can grab a book, and we have one whole wall of bookshelves in the den. Hold out for your own room for your books and your decorating and a nice big "boys stay out" sign. LOL.

  15. If you need more ammunition there is a Harvard study that shows that kids raised in a house with books are better language users, readers, writers, and test takers than kids raised in a house where books were not visibly present. In this study, it didn't matter how much or little the kids were read to. What mattered was the display of books from an early age let the kids know that language, reading, and writing was valued in their home. Of course reading to them is important, too. But keep the books out and on the shelf, if not for you, then for the guppies.

  16. In a few more months, these will be the least of your problems!!

    For now, consider raising the books from the twins' future grasp! (Along with anything else you may value!)

  17. Oh man…I would be PISSED. *L* I love my books…I even blogged about my books (with happy bookshelf pics)

  18. Don`t pack them up! I love to read and need my books like water and air. Its kind of surprising to read that Philip doesn`t want to have books out there.

  19. Stephanie,
    Totally off topic but have you looked at ? They have the cutest baby bedding ever and have both custom fabrics and ready made. Really loverly stuff.

    Blessings to you and the babes,

  20. See, in my world, I want no say as to the decoration, design, or layout to the home. I want one room that is mine, and mine alone, but she can have the rest. This is my vision because I persoannly couldn't care less how the whole damn thing is decorated, at the end of the day. However, nearly every woman I have ever known or dated wants to somehow involve their man in this task.

  21. I hate to tell him, but if Phil wants a clutter-free environment, he is in for a rude awakening once your babies arrive. YOUR books will be the least of it. "Goodnight Moon" is a must. We still have 3 copies for each of my 3 kids. Just had to keep them. You won't have to buy them; they're popular as "attached to gift" gifts. My favorite book was given to my daughter and me (my third child) after already having 2 boys. It's called "Me & You – A Mother-Daugher Album" by Lisa Thiesing. It made me cry. Even though my daughter is now 8 yrs old, she still lets me read it w/ her once in a while. My kids all have a ton of books. (In fact, this week is the Book Fair at school, meaning, more books on the way). So, Phil will just have to adjust – to a lot more than just having your books around the house! And…it's all good!

  22. I agree with Marif – I'm always a little uncomfortable in houses without books in them. I like the insight they give you into the personalities of the people who live there, and the numerous worlds at your fingertips. I dream of a library with floor to ceiling books, an open fire with an armchair for snuggling, and a window seat. One day….

  23. A possible solution is to have bookcases with doors on them. This blunts the untidy visual of a bookcase.

    I'm a "love me, love my books", kind of person. In one relationship, I moved in with the person in question unexpectedly after moving cross-country. He was welcoming and made space for things, but this didn't include any of my books. He didn't understand how unhappy I was without my books. It took him about a year to really understand this. I never feel at home until I have my books in bookcases.

    I recently watched as friends of mine had a condo built. He told her that her rooms to decorate were the bathrooms and the kitchen. Then he forced his design sense on her in every single room in the house. I'm still spitting mad for her.

  24. oh, i DO want to like him, i really do, particularly because you do, but it's so DIFFICULT sometimes! how many square feet is your new house (2500+?)?! how is pack-ratty for a writer who loves books and the inspiration they give to actually want a bookshelf full of books?! particularly since said books and said writing…ahem…contribute greatly to the ownership of that house… ::sigh::

  25. Girl, you must have a place that is "you", especially after the babies…that will be your refuge and there is nothing more comforting and cozy than a room crammed with books, and "stuff" that means the world to you. A rainy night with a cozy little lamp on and a room full of books…all that is missing is a cup of tea and some fuzzy slippers.

  26. I can see both sides. You will find out, within two years, that no matter how much room you have, you don't have enough room. At some point, you have to get rid of stuff. You probably have at least 100 books that you will never look at again. Get rid of them. If you find out two years from now that you need Doggies for Dummies, go out and buy it. The peace of mind from a nice looking work area will far exceed the $5 you just wasted.

    OTOH, there is a reason for having his&her spaces. If you decide what his space should look like, or if he decides yours, it isn't really yours or his anymore.

    My suggestion is to simply hire an interior decorator. Assuming that this is a long-term space, they can design and build bookshelves to display your books, your collectible, and your photos. They can help you decide what is important to you. But most importantly. since are a 3rd party, they will decide what the room looks like, so that neither you nor Phil will feel that your opinion is being ignored.

  27. I completely understand the need to have your books around you. I am such a bibliophile that the number of books in my apartment is ridiculous–packed bookshelves, neat stacks on the floor and easy access boxes. When I get the space, I would love a library for all my collections. But is this something I absolutely need? Not at all–I'm quite content with the overflowing bookshelves and neat stacks on the floor–I actually like the look.

    But more importantly–when living with someone, everyone needs his/her own space!

  28. OK…

    For the record, I have nothing against books. In fact, I wrote a children's book with Frank McCourt titled "A Day Without Books" which lamented about the sadness of a world with no books.

    I am fine with having books in the house. I am fine with having books on a bookshelf. My issue is living with someone who finds it difficult to throw away things and doesn't tidy up. I do most if not all of the cleaning. If books (like "dogs for dummies" which is NEVER read and probably given as a gift or found) can be given away it would show selectivity. It would be one less book i'd have to pick up once it was taken down to get another book.

    If I said I love music and having a home with albums or CD's from floor to ceiling is what I wanted, would anyone argue? It would be silly and not a decorating style. What's the difference? How about baseball cards? Elvis collectible plates?

    Recap- I'm cool with books and bookshelves. When the line between utility, decor and clutter gets blurred I speak up. Compromise.

  29. I didn't have my own space when I was married. *He* had his own study, I had "the rest of the house"…took getting divorced to get my own space. Now it's all mine, and I love it. Books, clutter and all.

    Maybe your own room with your very own door that he never has to go into is the way to handle it. Mom's private space will be a necessary haven when the babies arrive. No need for anyone to judge what it looks like behind that door.

  30. I took over my husband's messy cd room a year ago (he's a CRAZY music collector–we're talking tens of thousands of CD's and LP's). I painted the walls hot pink, put up curtains made of brightly colored saris, bought an orange glass desk and installed a cozy white loveseat and a big shelf of my books (Puppies for Dummies among the mix).

    Living with someone else is always a compromise. But there is definitely something to be said for having a space that just speaks to who you are as an individual. I find it to be a really peaceful excape zone.

  31. First, isn't your house like 5,000 sq ft?? I would think in a house that big you could each find space for yourselves.

    Second, once your babies come (and get past 4 months) you house is going to be so littered with the most appalling garbage, a few nice book shelves will seem like a dream.

    Third, does Phil ever get angry that sometimes he comes across as well, kind of …an idiot. I am sure he is wonderful, and this is your space to vent so we only see one side, but my husband gets annoyed when I repeatedly tell my 3 close girlfriends about is "idiot" male behaviorisms. I can't imagine how he would react if I was blogging about it to the whole world.

  32. Greatest Independent Book Store: Powell's City of Books in Portland, Oregon

    You're correct, in that this dilemma of yours is a good one to have… I find myself in a tiny NYC apartment. After giving up a 2,300 sq ft. home (Not big, but ideal for me & my daughter). We gladly did so in order to relocate to NY after she was accepted into a wonderful French immersion school here in Manhattan.

    My little girl (Soon to be 13 and not so little anymore) is an avid reader. She read 56 books last summer alone. The solutions I've found to owning too many books: 1. Go to the library. 2. Recycle books by selling them back to stores when can. 3. Buy Used Books whenever possible. 4. Keep only the ones that have special meaning to you.

    I'm a big believer that our society as a whole has become static. I prefer a dynamic approach to living. I can own things temporarily, enjoy it, and let it go… This wasn't always the case for me as I used to be a Shopaholic. Not anymore. I don't feel a need to own more than we actually need now days. I'm certain that this is attributed to the shift in my priorities. My daughter's education has truly become top priority. She not only recognizes this, but values her education as a result of the sacrifices we've made. This ambitious-move has proven to be a very positive one for both of us.

    As for the Craft Room, love it!! I had a similar space in my garage, I called it "My Studio'. Obviously, no one in their right mind needs nearly as much gift wrap as was shown in the photograph (Simply select a few signature rolls). Perhaps this could be an all-in-one room for you, and your work.

    As for the books that you currently own, (you might consider selling some). I've always dispersed books around the house by category. Place a select group of Cookbooks/Entertaining/Wine in the kitchen, maybe add some Erotica to Phil's night stand as a way of saying "Lighten Up" ; ), and so on. Certainly, Phil would appreciate having easy access to a standard library such as Dictionaries/Thesaurus etc. And perhaps a more traditional library on display in a formal library or living room. I think he's probably just overwhelmed by everything; and the mass books is simply a way of venting a little. But like everything, moderation is key. Perhaps you'd be willing to rotate some of your books that you're not able or willing to get rid of.

    At any rate, I just wanted to make a few suggestions. I admire many of the choices you've made in life. It's ironic that as you've moved out to the suburbs in order to provide your children a better lifestyle — I've moved mine to NYC for the same reason. I certainly am glad that she will have had both ways of life. It will be fun to see what becomes of her! Many parents from her school have asked if I were scared to move here since I am a single parent — Never crossed my mind. We see NYC as endless opportunities…

    Wishing you and your beautiful family all of the happiness that your hearts and hands can hold,


  33. I had the same problem – avid readaholic with a husband who doesn't want "older, faded books" out in public. So he splurged and bought me THIS for some of my more faded favorites: – side view – front view

    NOTHING says AWESOME conversation piece like an **Egyptian sarcophagus bookcase!** This way they're out in the open but he doesn't have to see them. And it really goes with the rustic, cherrywood-ish, old-fashioned library look.

  34. This whole "Here's why I'm upset with the Suitor!" followed by the response from the Suitor himself, especially when we all know you read and have to manually approve comments and therefore have read his response, is repulsive in its passive-aggressiveness.

    Perhaps less time airing dirty laundry and more time cleaning it up.

    Readers amusement be damned, this public crap does not bode well for a marriage filled with mutual respect.

  35. That statement shouldnt be accompanied by a wink and a smile, LG! (I'm teasing, but as a dog lover it gives me pause) But- recall the wedding thoughts? It would have been perfection if the Lineman were there (heavily paraphrased, obviously) does that sound like someone who would get rid of the dog and not make mention of it?

    Regarding the books, how about awesome lawyer shelves, glass fronted?

    Phil! That is way cool. I LOVE Frank McCourt!

    Stephanie? Still anxiously awaiting pictures of the happiest things! Cant wait to see the wedding et al!

  36. "Third, does Phil ever get angry that sometimes he comes across as well, kind of …an idiot."

    Does he come across as an idiot, or does he come across as an idiot to YOU? I'm saying he is right or wrong, but you must admit that he does have a point. If my wife and kids use their 'toys' on a regular basis, and are at least semi-neat with them, it's not a problem. But if it is 50 bags and boxes of crap that doesn't see the light of day, then what's the point?

    Let's reverse the positions. Let's say that Phil has a room devoted to exercise/sports. He has weights, ropes, goggles, paraphanalia, whatever, but he only works out once a month, and Steph is the one cleaning the room all the time. Would Steph be right in saying 'use it or lose it'? I think she would be, and I don't really see much of a difference between the books and exercise equipment.

    It all depends on whose ox is being gored, but they're still better off handing off the problem to an interior decorator.

  37. I have a more than a couple of things to say, probably 5 cents rather than 2. I find it amusing how some think the number of books you have in your home actually accounts for some type of value of intellect. I am one of those "one bookshelf" type of people, yet consider myself pretty well read. I just found it comes to a matter of space when you don't have much to begin with. I have kind of given in to the less is more concept, realizing that when it comes to books, there are the select few that really actually mean anything-either sentiment (Puppies for Dummies) or I actually value it that much that I really have read it twice. I guess you can call me a reformed packrat. I can see how your case is different, being both creative (so not me) and a writer, but I also see Phil's point, since I am the housekeeper too. What a great problem to have, I really hope it works out. Finally-PLEASE-what's up with Linus? Did you send him to Leah's? Or is he running like crazy all over Beer Acres? All I have is my furkid too, so I can't even imagine how it would feel not having him around. I already lost one a few months ago, and still pretty hurt by that. Ok, that's it. Glad to hear from BOTH of you this time.

  38. Phil :
    Wow! a book with Frank McCourt, impressive!
    Kids, please don't argue about books, life is too short.

  39. The Lineman is grand. Exhausted, but grand. He now gets so much exercise he doesn't know what to do with himself. Mostly, I find him passed out in a rectangle of sunlight, on the wooden floors. This morning, he went into the sitting room/sun room, connected to our bedroom through French doors. He was sitting on the top of a chair, lounging, looking out the window. I went into the bathroom to run the shower water, only to hear him go into a barkfest. He saw some type of large bird, down below, walking in our yard. You'd have thought it was an intruder. He is, and will always be, my very sweet bean. Though, he is NOT good with children, and nearly foams at the mouth when they're around. He will probably have to go to Montana with Lea… which I will discuss at another time. I can't think about it now. I love him so much it hurts.

    As for The Suitor (who will always be my dear suitor), he thinks I have too many books. "It's bad enough," he said this morning, "that I have to look at all the cookbooks in the kitchen. Now you want to add them to our living room?" I figured really nice hardcover interior design books belonged on shelves in our living room (which is not formal). If I had a "library room," I'd put them there. As it is, he says I can choose which books I want for the office, but the rest have to go upstairs (hidden in a corner), and even within those, he insists I "hide" the uglier ones, like said yellow and black Dummies book. I do need a room of my own. I wonder how I can achieve this.

  40. it was a (poorly-worded) joke, given that it seems she has to get rid of everything else she loves. justa joke though. :)

  41. I know LG and as you can see, Stephanie has responded. I totally knew you were not serious though and I am sad to say that I see what I feared is the case.

    Talk when you are ready for it Stephanie, it is a responsible and wise choice and Im sure the Lineman's Aunt Lea will make a wonderful Mommy!

    I am sorry to hear of it though, it is heartbreaking, indeed.

    All the best,

  42. So this post of yours is six years old today and I responded 6 years ago today as a mom of 3 teens. Tonight I’m writing from my very own, my very first, my very wildly coveted ‘writing room’. I’m sitting in here for the first time, literally.

    The house is quiet and I’m alone…the babies are grown and flown. The five bedrooms now loom large, and I’m slowly occupying the space with things I’ve always wanted and never dared have.

    Sweet son has flown away far enough that he doesn’t need his room to be his when he comes home to roost for a minute between world travels and college successes. So – I did it! I claimed his room for my own writing space. It is large and freshly painted – crimson curtains lit up by warmly glowing candles – new desk and desk chair in place – and I’m sitting here like a 7th grade girl at her first dance. Nervous about how to act, about what will be comfortable, about my posture – which way I should face – how it is going to happen? When does the magical, sparkly disco ball take over and I fall head over heels into something? Here I am. Waiting…

    Which gets us to today. Today’s jar full of jellybeans. You wrote: “I’ve got a big ol’ jar of jellybeans sitting on the coffee table, and I
    worry that they’ll go stale before I’ve had a chance to share them. It’s
    as if once the amassing of the beans slows, it feels like I’ve given
    up. Stopped learning and contributing. I’ve reached critical mass and

    Personally, I don’t think you’ve reached critical mass nor stagnation – you’ve hit ‘full’ for a bit. It’s temporary. I lived there for a long time, and suddenly I feel the beans starting to come into the jar again. It wasn’t full…it was just full for the minute (er…years).

    Do you think that’s what writing is? Is that mothering? Wife-ing? Living? The giving out of beans? Is there honestly a point that we *have* to start pouring out? Can’t the beans keep coming in? I want them to. Maybe that’s just me, but I’m not ready for the influx of beans to stop. Love to know your thoughts on this.

    Tonight I’m setting myself a ‘writing exercise’ – yep, I’m facing those dreaded memoirs. Gonna spend 30 minutes with them as payment for this beautiful room. There are beans to spill and beans to gather. You’ve been a great inspiration to me for years, and I look forward to your next spilling of the beans.

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