I've been thinking it over and I really wish I'd become a librarian. Or had my own bookstore. So I decided to solve my problem by building a Little Free Library. I literally would LOVE the chance to curate my own little library and stick little comments about each book on a bookmark placed inside...I would grease the little hinges and get up in the night when there was a storm, just like a farmer, and trudge out to check on my brave little library outbuilding and all the books nestled there, making sure there weren't any leaks or doors flapping open and that the books were snuggled in, cover to cover and cozy...and then I would bravely hike the six or seven steps back to my house and go inside...after stopping to take a last little look out into the swirling darkness, fogging up the glass of the front door as I struggled to see the outlines of the perfectly pitched little roof. And I would decorate it on holidays with itty bitty wreaths or banners cleverly made from newspaper clippings or old books that had fallen apart and needed upcycling...
The only obstacles to making my dream a reality are two-fold: I don't appreciate the building arts, and I'm not all that good at following directions to put together furniture and whatnot (well, now that I think of it, following any directions is not my strong suit...but I digress). But! I figured I would do an end run around these problems and ask for this priceless and most important gift (a gift not only for me, but for my neighborhood community!) for Mother's Day. So, I shared my dream with my handsome and amazing husband, Nick, who indulges my whims and requests on a regular basis and is my knight in shining armor, my best friend and confidante, who regularly inspires me with his generosity of spirit and ability to manage even the most dire of situations with a heart-stopping smile... And can you believe it?! That rat bastard* said NO!
Why did he cruelly dash my hopes, tear my dearest wish into bits of filthy confetti, and attempt to quash my heart's desire? Well! I'll tell you why: RULES! Yes, that's right. Over the many years we've spent together, I've come to understand that genuinely good and ethical people (such as my husband) have a big problem: they respect rules and regulations. I find this puzzling, because somewhat morally ambiguous people (such as myself) see rules as generally helpful and necessary, but also have no problem ignoring, circumventing, and/or undermining rules that they understand are unfair and/or stupid.
So, our HOA says we can't add any structures to our front lawn. And sure, I understand the intention behind the rule: no one wants some rogue element building a duck blind or putting out a huge salt lick in hopes that a deer will wander up or erecting an eight foot tall martini glass that doubles as a birdbath. But a Little Free Library? It is none of those things! Actually, homes from now on all should incorporate Little Free Libraries into their landscaping, because they are:
- Beautiful and loveable, as explained above
- Necessary in order to keep our shelves, desks, and tables from collapsing under the weight of no longer needed books
- Enriching for the community, young and old, especially since elementary and middle schoolers walk past our home on the reg
- Beneficial for the stewards of the libraries (that is, me), because they (I) might make new friends who love books as much as they (I) do!
These are airtight arguments and should not be questioned. But alas, despite my well-crafted commentary and even a bit of eyelash fluttering proved insufficiently persuasive to bring him around to the Dark Side, and thus, when Mother's Day rolled around, I did not receive the library of my dreams. Instead, I received a very nifty dummy-proof herb garden (complete with little pre-seeded pods, an adjustable grow light with timer, and an automatic watering system!), because in addition to not being able to follow directions, I also am not able to keep plants alive unless they're succulents. And yes, yes, fine! The garden has been a continuous source of entertainment and interest for all of us. All six pods have sprouted and the resulting little plantlets appropriately named by whomever discovered the first bit of greenery (Michael Jackson the Thai Basil; Herb the Genovese Basil; Precious Thyme; Dill Pickles; Penny the Mint; and Parsley, Sage). Furthermore, a tiny jumping spider even showed up this morning to protect the plants from insidious bugs (and children's fingers, since they are afraid of spiders)! It's an altogether delightful and educational gift that I didn't even know I wanted.
But I still want a Little Free Library.
I've considered the "ask forgiveness, not permission" route and the "maybe Nick won't even notice it if I camouflage it with leaves" approach; I've even entertained the notion of installing it right in the border with our neighbor and then blaming said neighbor...but in my finer moments, I recognize that Nick IS a simply wonderful human and shockingly low maintenance (whereas me? not so much with the low maintenance), so I probably should let this one go and use it in the future as an example of my selflessness and boundless love for him.
So. In the spirit of letting things go, I've decided to make this space right here my virtual Free Little Library! Yes, my bookish friends, you are the lucky beneficiaries of my dashed dreams. I don't have the time to properly and consistently create the long posts I had been writing, so instead I'll write up a short note on books I've read that would have gone into my library, and design my own little bookmarks and everything, just like I had planned! And really, I'll be able to share an even larger number of books with a broader population, since I tend to read a lot of e-books, especially when reading for fun. AND! If I DO comment on an actual book that I have and no longer need, I will give that book away to anyone local who wants it, complete with bookmark and my recommendation note! I would promise to send the books to whomever claims it first, but honestly, I'm not great at getting to the post office in a timely manner and I don't want to pay postage. But I suppose that if you want to pay postage, we could work it out. I dunno. I'll think on it. Any thoughts about this? Chime in!
I can't wait to get started and breathe some life back into this little blog! I've been missing sharing books and all things bookish with you. Look for an update with the next few days.
In the meantime, I hope you have a relaxing long weekend ahead that prepares you for a summer chock full of books - books that make you laugh and cry, books that leave you pleasantly satiated and books that leave you starving for more, books that challenge, confuse, reward, and enlighten you, books that help you make the messy, amazing, treacherous, precious experience of living a little more meaningful. Books and books and books.
And now you may pretend that you - or I! - are falling into an enormous nest of books and curling up for a little rest. Happy book dreams to us all!
*Nick is NOT, of course, a rat bastard and I love him with all my heart and soul. I may have gotten a tiny bit carried away.