SOL #19 My Nightstand (reprise)

My nightstand holds stacks of my best intentions.

As a piece of furniture it offers open space, a flat surface and contains no frills. Four pieces of wood that create a cube with two open sides, it’s highly practical and indifferent to chaos. The fact that its form is hardly visible elicits no hard feelings. Its function remains impeccable which I suppose is what counts.

Inside this open cube I have remnants of readings and artifacts that I have yet to sort and archive (as if this were a thing that I ever did). A cookbook my mother gave me in my early 20’s, 3-4 self-help books some for the physical, some for the emotional, at least one in German. There are 2 old envelopes of photographs. You know the kind you got from the drugstore processing distributor. Mostly pictures of my oldest son from his middle years, I think. Old journals, a few more books I started but didn’t quite finish. Dustcovers of books that I loved yet never replaced on their hardback originals. The assortment is messy but navigable.

On top there appear to be two stacks of books. The back row are a mix of favorites like Gathering Moss and Braiding Sweetgrass, both by Robin Wall Kimmerer which I couldn’t bear to put on a shelf plus a notebook or two thrown in. The front row are a combination of recent aspirational reads and books I’m in the middle of. There’s Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped From The Beginning, Sara Goldrick-Rab’s Paying The Price and Cathy Davidson’s The New Education. Zeynep Tufekci’s Twitter and Tear Gas is still waiting patiently to be opened.

Despite the relative chaos and unfinished business, I am at peace with my nightstand. I always have something to read. When And Where I Enter  by Paula Giddings happens to be on top and I just returned poetry by Natalie Diaz, When My Brother Was An Aztec, to its owner. Somewhere in that jumble of pages there’s a copy of my own small book of poetry, Die Sprachbuergerschaft.

In a year of two, the combination will shift and be reconfigured. The nightstand will remain stuffed and covered and always entirely necessary.

9 thoughts on “SOL #19 My Nightstand (reprise)

  1. I love your last line, especially the entirely necessary part. I also feel like everything you list is itself its own story. Returning the book to its owner, the envelope, the picture of your son, definitely the cookbook. AND ABSOLUTELY the book of your own poetry!

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  2. What a great piece- of writing (oh, and furniture)! I loved your opening line and how you brought your nightstand’s indifference and function to life. My nightstand holds so many best intentions!

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  3. It’s so amazing how we can’t put certain books away isn’t it? It’s nice to dip in and out of favourites and they always need to be close at hand. I can picture your night stand. Thanks for sharing your reading list.

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  4. I read you last ‘Nightstand’ post and I’m glad you reprised it 🙂
    I am so curious, because I don’t recognize a title on it, and I consider myself pretty widely read! So I am going to keep your titles in mind for future reading. (I do believe we often read in silos- I have read what all the people similar to me, and in book clubs near me, have read. ).
    I clicked on your poetry boook- I am so impressed!!!!! I don’t read German- what does your title mean? And will you put some poetry in your slices?

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  5. I’ve been meaning to get to Braiding Sweetgrass for ages. I think I need to buy my own copy. The library copy is super beat up and dirty and it just doesn’t feel right to read THAT book in THAT physical object. Just popped Twitter and Tear Gas on top of a stack too–really want to get to that. I need more time to read! I loved the description of your space and the objects.

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  6. It is good to have a piece of furniture that is “highly practical and indifferent to chaos.” I have a couple pieces of furniture like that. I posted a pen sketch of James Russell Lowell’s study in “Where’s the Snow?” at the beginning of this month. Your description of your books makes me think of that sketch… with so many stacks of books.

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