Ian Whybrow

…coming soon…

March 8th 2015. De-cluttering my bookshelves and other evacuations

March 8, 2015 - Filed under: Blog - Leave a comment

 

 

                 “Now I am chesty, chilled, confin’d,

Clogged up by saucy bouts and smears… “

                                                                 (Macbeth [ Nastikoff version])

The insidious little creatures that began to moss my bronchus on Friday 13th February have never really been away. Sometimes they take cover for a short while but encouraged by my regular outings to various schools, and clearly irritated by my incessant chatter, they revenge themselves by morphing to green slimy things with fish-hook feet. And now my darling is rendered horizontal by their cousins who have invaded and occupied her nasal passages. The tissues that she has stuffed up her nostrils to thwart their flow puff like poached eggs, like ectoplasm. She is reading Donna Tartt for comfort and I have turned to “H is for Hawk”. I love it. It is so steeped in Shakespeare and particularly in the madness of Hamlet; so tender towards the unhinged TH White and towards the thankless, savage otherness of a goshawk – that one cannot but feel privileged, like Conrad’s Marlowe when he meets Mistah Kurtz, to have peeped over the edge and seen proper horror without actually having to descend personally to the lower depths.

Away man-flu and woman-flu! Apart from that we’re fine.

Well, nearly; because I’m feeling very torn about parting with my foreign editions. Being bunged up and de-cluttering are clearly inter-related in some Freudian way and I am determined to stop hoarding the books and put them to work. I am going to give them to the people from the Literacy Trust who, working in the poorest wards of Bradford, Middlesbrough and Peterborough, aim to break the cycle of inter-generational low literacy by encouraging parents and children – on the cusp of coping with English as their second language – to enjoy reading together.

I have torn my books kicking and screaming from the shelves, noted what language each one speaks, stamped them all with a little library stamp that I’ve never used before and signed them – as an earnest of my devotion to them. Now they’re piled up in the hall waiting for boxes, almost ready to fly free.

 

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The hard thing now is actually to go out and get the boxes…

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