|Yes- it's those curtains again...|
I've got a confession to make. I've just put my 34-year-old daughter's nursery curtains up in the spare room. They are for my gorgeous granddaughters when they visit, I hasten to add, but why did I do it? Because I love the past. I love anything nostalgic, anything that evokes happy memories. And that includes furniture.
Furniture is often overlooked as a mundane feature of the home. But its resonance in our lives is much more profound, writes author Ian Sansom on the BBC website today. Furniture contains numerous traces of what we are and who we are and who we think we are.Cupboards, for example, contain our past - as well as our regrets and secrets. Keys which fit no locks, pieces of paper with obsolete phone numbers and pin numbers written on them, stray playing cards, inexplicable plastic things and old French francs. Why do we keep any of this stuff I do not know, except as something to hand on to our own children, to keep in cupboards of their own - our endless inheritance of waste....
Now this is where I have to disagree - how can our heritage be described as waste? How can we not be interested in where we came from, and what the world was like when we were born? In my writing den I have a photograph of my grandfather's discharge papers from the 2nd Royal Guernsey Light Infantry in 1919, plus a national newspaper cartoon of my father at the Café de Paris in the sixties and a collage of my own daughters when they were growing up. The past influences my writing as it has with many authors, humble or famous.
Adds Sansom: In 1948 CS Lewis wrote to a friend that he was attempting to write a children's book "in the tradition of E Nesbit". The children's book he wrote was, of course, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, published in 1950, and one of the Nesbit traditions he borrowed was the magic wardrobe. Lewis uses his wardrobe to enter an entirely different realm - his destination is the Celestial City.
Like wardrobes, beds act as transports for the imagination also. Writers in particular love to work on the horizontal. Milton's Paradise Lost was mostly written in bed. As was much of Winston Churchill's history of World War Two.
Now this is where Mr Sansom and I begin to agree again. I also find it very therapeutic to write from my bed. But that's another story.
Talking of bedrooms - where have I seen that pine dressing table before? It definitely looks familiar...
You can download my debut novel here. Baggy Pants and Bootees