In fairness, the bag really does look like it holds more stuff than it actually does. It is deceptively less roomy than one would imagine. I live in the tinyest flat imaginable--lovely, homey, cosy, comfy, bright, but tiny--and one would not imagine that there would be so much stuff to pack. Where does this stuff live when it is not marching into the suitcase?
Everything starts with books. Christmas present books, reading books (I am reading Forster, Maugham's letters and West--it is like falling into a vat of emotionally charged, sun warmed, beautifully written, early 20th century honey), and research books.
I am a bit like Linus from Peanuts about my research books. All my best beloved non research books live on the East Coast. Hawaii is too wet and London is too small and they seem to like the East Coast. My research books on the other hand are nomadic. They go to the beach, the movies, the departure lounge, the bus, the ballet studio, the library (where they can commiserate with more well adjusted, grounded, non roving research books), the park, the pub, the subway, the playground and the museums. They go out for dinner and wish I would use an umbrella.
They meet my friends. They get scribbled in: "Dentist, 430, Tuesday". They drive in the Honda. They get dropped into the sea. I love that they live big, varied lives. But they are heavy. I am only going for a few days. Do they all need to come? And then I look at their soft, broken in spines and crumply covers and illegible notes that track my life as I write this second book and I think, yes. They need to come.
But then we might only be going as far as Heathrow. My flight was cancelled yesterday and today and there is a good chance that the plane might not take off tomorrow...