Just hours before The Screen Went Dark, I was having such a good day. I’d really enjoyed the two interviews of the day before, and was practically whistling while working transcribing them. The good thing about Special Reports writing from my point of view is that it’s soft news, and that means people are generally happy to share their experience, expertise and perspective, plus it’s usually interesting to hear, and last week’s story was no exception. I was totally into it. Happy to talk to these people – a course coordinator/lecturer and one of her mature-aged Indigenous students – and more than happy to write about their program and the good work it’s doing in the area of Indigenous health. I was feeling good. The other reason I was so chipper last Wednesday is that the cabinetmaker and his installer arrived to put in my bookshelf/wall unit. At last! It’s here!
What can I tell you? It is a thing of beauty. I’m enchanted by it. As I sit here – in what is still my office, at what is still my desk – I can gaze up at it filling the wall opposite. I admire it every time I walk by. What’s not to love? It’s so functional, so perfectly proportioned, and such a supremely economic and stylish use of an otherwise entirely unusable cavity between the doorframes at either end of the room and the start of the wall that separates them. I love it. We both love it. My Man Town writer friend L loves it, too. She and I stood before it this morning stroking book spines and murmuring reverently about all those clean lines. When I get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, I get this little thrill walking past it to get to the bathroom. I just like knowing it’s there. It exudes a very powerful book aura that makes my heart swell. Look at me! I can’t take my eyes off it. I am utterly besotted.
And the void! Please allow me just a moment to brag about my void. Some of you may recall that the decision to incorporate a void at the unit’s centre was difficult; having always fantasised in vivid detail about a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall library space, why would I – how could I – carve out a massive square in the middle? The answer was display space. We’re running out of walls, and I wanted to keep the antiquarian lithograph – ‘Bird’s Eye View of the Port of Sydney,’ a gift I gave Llew – hanging where it has happily hung since we moved here. So we measured it up, and it’s just worked out PERFECTLY. It honestly looks better than it did when it had the whole wall to itself. Something about its being slightly recessed and surrounded by books now draws you into the map in a way that wasn’t achieved nearly so effectively before. Everything about it is more absorbing. The whole thing has come up a bloody treat.
Now we’re just trying to figure out what the hell took us so long.