What More Do I Need?

At the Sun Times (link from Morning News), Roger Ebert remembers wondering, as a student:

What do I really need that isn’t here in this room? Its dimensions are a little more than twice as wide and deep as I am tall. I don’t know, maybe 150 square feet? Here I have the padded wood chair in which I sit tilted against the wall, my feet braced on my straight desk chair. I am holding the three-inch-thick Paul Hamlyn edition of Shaw’s complete plays. This room contains: A wood single bed, an African blanket covering it, a wood desk and its gooseneck lamp, a small dresser with a mirror over it, my portable typewriter, a small wardrobe containing my clothes, a steamer trunk serving as a coffee table, and two bookcases, filled to overflowing. What more do I actually need?

I enjoyed reading Ebert’s description of his book collection and office, and his admission–only toward the end!–that he’d miss his wife. I am a reader, but also a weeder of books. This has led to moments of regret, though few compared to the number of volumes I’ve gotten rid of. My husband G. Grod is more of Ebert’s stripe. Given his druthers, he’d never get rid of a book. (Alas, we are not the king and queen of infinite space. Or many bookshelves.)

I was thinking along the same lines as Ebert just this morning, as I worked in my office, organized books on our shelves, and spent time in our back bedroom and porch. Those three spaces–bedroom, porch, “office” (aka closet) are about all I’d need in a living space. They comprise my fortress of solitude, for whatever scant time I spend there to read, write and rest. Food and company I find elsewhere. (The latter, in the form of my two boys, usually finds me, first.)


reading porch

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