|Packed on their backs? In boxes too small?|
Sandy Cody’s blog for Classic and Cozy Books a few weeks ago spoke of coming home. I’m writing this week about leaving home.
This is not an uncommon experience for me, my husband or any of our clan. We pull up stakes periodically after establishing ourselves in a town or job, leaving behind good friends who promise to keep in touch and we welcome them to every new home, especially when they bring with them the treasure of shared memories and events—which they always do—or they send their offspring as representatives.
Wherever we go, we embrace the adventure and the chance to explore—not only our new territory but ourselves and our opportunities to meet new friends.
|Prepared for packing-by size|
The one category of possessions that go where we go? Our books! The number of boxes of books increases with each new home, rarely decreasing, even though I have a fondness for digital books.
A good 70% of the books I hoist into cardboard boxes are non-fiction for research in world and American history. They aren’t known as “heavy reading” without good reason. Some are the ubiquitous “coffee table” books of photographs with captions. These cannot be packed spine to spine. Nor can they be grouped together in larger boxes. The logistics of moving books takes the love of jigsaw puzzles to slip and slot books of all sizes into boxes that can be stacked in a cargo container.
Despite the number of boxes—well-over 50 by now—and the weight, there are very few books that haven’t made the cut. One never knows when a book about herbal medicine, the history of the oldest town in Wales, or quilting in Pennsylvania will be needed. However, an instruction manual for a database program or software application which are no longer current may find a good home with someone else.
As sometimes happens in a writer’s life, we are moving to a state that has attracted my interest as a setting in one of my novels, currently a manuscript—a work-in-progress, titled Dance by the Light of the Moon. Research is one thing, actual physical contact with the fictionalized setting is another.
Having moved so frequently during and since my childhood, I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to experience places that also inspire my imagination as an adult. Who would have thought that a rock formation in a Welsh forest could spawn an eleven-book historical series?
Or the threat of a tornado in the high plains east of the Rocky Mountains to form the perfect setting for a post-Civil War romance juxtaposed against the lilac groves of the Maine woods?
But what would all those physical settings be without the inspiration of reading books by other writers whose imaginations were sparked by fishing from a small boat in the seas off the Caribbean islands or tramping through the sands of the Sahara in search of lost gold mines?