There are a great many things that I think about concerning the future – grad school, maintaining a good GPA, the vauge semblance of thinking about a husband, maybe a family, the continuance of good times with my amazing family. And yet, one of the few things that has been running through my quite over-active imagination lately is the library I can only hope to have one day. Now, my future in academia (yes, you’ve got it right, my lofty career goals extend just as far as educating fruitful young minds on a college campus near you) means that I am, in all reality, pretty much relegated to a life of off-the-rack book shelves and half-priced books. However, when the days are long and the mind wanders, one can’t help but think of the way it could be “if only”, this case being “if only I had the money”. Let me take a minute to paint this picture.
You walk in, and its a rather large room. Not horribly large as to be intimidating, but large enough to hold all the books I desire. Right to your left is a small, almost-kitchenette. A counter, a microwave, a hot-plate and some cabinets. Inside? Hershey’s milk chocolate bars, jars of pickles, and New England Clam Chowder. To drink are a wide variety of dark-brewed, whole-bean Colombian coffee and Earl Grey tea with milk and honey. To the right is an arm chair approximately the size of a small elephant with a partially-firm back and cushy seat, the perfect recliner. Along the back wall a squishy couch and soft knitted blanket, perfect for naps when reading becomes a bit too much. From then, the books – all thousand of them. Obviously, in this dream world, there would be enough money for whatever book struck my fancy. Fiction, mystery, science fiction/fantasy, biography and autobiography, all restrained to their own sections. From there, a special section for first-editions, preferably of Salman Rushdie, Eudora Welty, John Steinbeck, and all the Beats – Kerouac, Dylan, Boukowski. Another section for the most well-loved books of my childhood, well worn, bent, taped together with years of tender handling: Little Women, Nancy Drew, The Giving Tree, Laura Ingles Wilder, Anne of Green Gables, the Dear America and American Girls books, anything by Shel Silverstein. Another section for hand-written works, both my own and those I admire. Modern poets and writer friends whose work has done much (and gone rather unacknolwedged) in influencng my own work. Maps and artwork on the wall, a huge bay window overlooking a wonderful scenery (here it doesn’t matter – mountains, the beach, a forest, I’m not particular as long as its pretty) and, in the middle of all of this, in the convergence of all these different isles, is the Oxford English Dictionary, unabriged, on its own wooden podium, light and magnifying glass attached. Shining like the true beacon that it is (or should be) for all English majors and Literati alike.
It’s years and years, not to mention millions and millions of dollars, in the distance, but who knows. Maybe if I’m good, karma will decide to grant a few wishes in my favor.