Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle begins with the wonderful declaration, “I write to you from the kitchen sink.” Unfortunately, I only write to you from a very crowded backseat in a very crowded car. Someday I’ll find myself a big old kitchen sink, and climb in.
Really, there are lots of places from which I’d love to write you. There are those of the kitchen sink variety, places I suppose any imaginative person could think of: a window seat, a fireside, a roof full of chimneys, a balcony, an attic. Then there are the places particular to me: the freshly clean breezeway at my grandparents’ house that has Charity and me bursting with pride, the old cemetery across the highway, or the dam at the top of the lake, home to Poopsie’s Greatest Achievement and the world’s most delicious breezes.
Finally, there are the dream places, the places which, as of yet, I only love in fantasy. First there is New England. I’ve never been farther north than New York, so a little back sector of my mind is determined to walk cobblestones in Boston. I’ve been to almost every other part of my country, I suppose because New England is not on the way to anywhere (except perhaps Prince Edward Island—now, that’s a place to write from!) and most of the states I’ve been through have been on the way to family and holiday. But if New England is on the way to itself, then I suppose it must be worth seeing. Right, Liesel?
Next is Hay-on-Wye in Wales, the town with the most used bookstores in the world. I think my very first banner on this blog was a picture of the bookshelves which line the streets: Hardbacks, 50 pence and Paperbacks, 30 pence. In other words, heaven. Then, of course, I’ve just finished Wuthering Heights, and it’s such a wonderfully novelish novel. Though I was really quite pleased to see Catherine and Heathcliff fall dead, it made me want to wander the moors, stand in the wind, have my hair properly wuthered, and above all, write. There is also Venice. Since reading Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord early in high school, I airily disregard all complaints of its stench and dirt, and instead concentrate staunchly on gold lions, arched bridges, and meeting my dear friend Scipio. Actually, my mother told me if I got a full ride to college she would take me, but obviously that didn’t work out. Sorry, Mom. Someday.
The place which trumps all, though, is mine. I am currently in the throes of a mild-to-severe case of house fever. I look them up online and plan paint, and built-in bookshelves, and secret passageways. It must be big and old and storied. It must have wood floors and stairs that creak. It must have its own peculiar smell (but not too peculiar.) Eventually, it must have the perfect bathroom. Round and domed with a huge, claw-foot tub and sunny windows high in the walls. There will be a fireplace and a big, wide towel rack, and piles and piles of books. (I suppose there’ll be a toilet and sink, too, behind a screen somewhere.) Oh, and probably a daybed and lots of large, ticking clocks. And perhaps a chandelier. That’s my bathroom. A Room of My Own. A room from which to write you.
I love I Capture the Castle. Seriously, it’s a good one. Perhaps I’ll reread it now that you’ve brought it back to mind.
…I remember us having a conversation once upon a time about future houses while we were wandering about Grove. It’s because of you (and secret passages) that I’m now bent on a big, old, gorgeous fixer-upper.
I look forward to you writing to the world from a kitchen sink. Or just a claw-footed bathtub.