Sunday, June 27, 2010

Busy Books

It is a strange thing when books take up seventy percent of your suitcase.  My books seem to need more room than most.  They spread out, get comfortable and expand once they are in situ.  Stacked on the night table they look bendy, harmless and even friendly.  Even waiting in their uneven, colorful stack, they are non aggressive and accommodating.  Once in my trusty black, beribboned suitcase?  They are ferocious.  I do not know what they do in there.  It is a case of Manifest Destiny.  They get very pushy and ruthlessly edge out dresses and face cream.

And so the negotiations begin.  That dress or that book--the book seems to get two votes to my poor blue dress's one.  Only shoes and coats have enough authority to override books--sundresses just have no gravitas.  Unfortunately, as I have been in the tropics for ages I am short on shoes and coats.  My sister who is visiting, walks in and watches me talk to my belongings and then just walks out.  She has seen this process before.

I am starting to get ready for my trip back to London.  Starting and am already daunted.  But it is unequivocal--I have to go.  A very dear friend is getting married and if I have to spend a few months researching Next Book--so at least three months in London and then most of next spring in London-- when I will hopefully have a working draft of Next Book--yikes.  It is not only the library research (which will be prodigious), but it is the small details, the number of windows on a particular house, the color of the wood on the floor boards, the lilac branches in the square--things I need to get right.  Luckily there are wonderful blue plaques marking the houses I need to visit.  Good for me as my eyesight is terrible and I am likely to count up the windows on the wrong house.

It will be lovely when I get there.  I will see my friends, go to my dance classes, take notes, notes, and more notes for Next Book--but I am so unprepared.  I have been a bit of an island savage for a while (with brief adventures on the mainland thrown in).  I have just realized that I have forty seven puffed up research books that must come with me.  Perhaps they would do better in a red suitcase?  I can see that there will be much talking to my stuff before this is over.

My friend Michelle has just walked in and taken offense to my island savagery reference.  She is now threatening to take me into the jungle for perspective.  Oh dear--this summer is going to stranger and stranger.


  1. Oh dear maybe you should check the books in as excess baggage!?

  2. If it's any consolation, Priya, your packing anxiety makes for delightful reading! And what a lovely sounding sojourn - I'd quite like popping to London for a spell spent visiting historic houses, dancing, researching your next novel and writing. But leave the sundresses - ambitious optimism when one's headed to Blighty - and anyway, surely that's what the London sales are for.

  3. i know--when i first moved there for university i brought flip flops and bikinis--such optimism.

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