Rebecca: The Library

It was a deep comfortable room, with books lining the walls to the ceiling, the sort of room a man would move from never, did he live alone.

p. 67

Yes, a comfortable library with a fire place, good chairs, a game table, and a writing desk: what more would one want? Or at least what more would an introvert want?

That kind of room belongs to a house much different than my own. While there is a wood burning stove in the great room in our basement—and bookshelves line more than one wall—it is not a library. And also in the basement is my study, and again, book shelves occupy quite a bit of wall space. But it struggles to accept the warmth from the stove in winter, and it only has one real window, small and at ground level. From neither room is there a grand view of anything, and it’s clear one is in a basement. There is no escape from the cellar spider!

I do not foresee a time when I will occupy that kind of room. But since that kind of room is in my mind, it’s hard to imagine what the spaces I do have could look like that would make them more warm and inviting, more encouraging to long reads and long letters. Interior decorator, I am not.  

While I would love that kind of room, I do not need it. A different space might inspire certain habits and activities, but I have space to both read and write. It may not always be ready at hand, but you would be surprised at how quickly we can transform the living room into a home theater.

Lack of the right space does not hinder. Distractions hinder. Apathy hinders. Wrong priorities hinder. An ideal space is fun to think about, but if one wants to develop certain habits and ways of living, one needs to start developing those habits and ways of living amidst the obstacles and distractions and imperfections. Character does not spring from the comfort or utility of the room. A gentleman is a gentleman in a basement of spiders. 

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