We are packing books for Norwich. We seem to be packing endless numbers of books.
Some are ready to be chosen from the cupboards in the book barn. A great many need to
be fetched from the other barn. We make a list and then every once and a while I run up
there to collect whatever is on the list. Today it is raining off and on, so I time my trips for
the sunny dry moments. Em waits outside the book barn and when I go up to the other
barn she follows me and settles herself down outside the door of that building. By the time
I come out she has to be surprised by my reappearance and then she gets to her feet and
follows me back to the book barn. A few trips back and forth and she is weary of the job
and weary of the lack of undisturbed sleep. Feeling bad about the many disturbances I
finally take her over to the house where I leave her to enjoy an undisturbed nap.
It is not just books being collected and packed. There are cards and there are things in
frames and there are things not in frames. Everything has to be gathered together and
listed and then packed in different kinds of categories. We have the books and objects
which will be displayed in cases behind glass. Some things which we would like to take
we cannot take because they are too big to fit inside the glass vitrines. Then there are the
books which will be on the reading table. These are the books that will be handled and
read. There are other books which will make up a small reference section. These will also
be available for reading. The piles get bigger and bigger. We do not want to pack them
until we are certain that we have not forgotten anything.
Another category is The Books for Henry. Every once and a while, one of us will ask Do
you think Henry would like this? Or Is this right for Henry? We speak of Henry with great
familiarity. We speak his name warmly as if we have known him and his preferences well.
We each have a sense of what he does and does not like. Sometimes we disagree and
one of us will say No, that is silly. Of course Henry does not want that! Neither of us have
ever met Henry. Henry has a bookshop in Norwich called The Book Hive. He has agreed
to sell some of our books during the time of the exhibition. We are trying to choose the
right books for him and this shop. We look forward to meeting him. We hope that our
choices are right.
Erica Van Horn