Call me Willa.
After six decades of anonymity, I now have a name. It wasn’t my first choice. I preferred “The National Library of Estonia,” but the name was taken. And (as was pointed out to me) I’m not in Estonia nor am I national. Some might not even call me a library, for which I beg their pardon. What else would you call 10,000* books? Still, nice name, Estonia.
I am a private library. I have a facilitator, LW. The day she puts my books in better order, I’ll call her my librarian. For now, she’s my facilitator, the one who makes new acquisitions, finds places for them (i.e., the pots and pans drawer, under the bed), and keeps after the dust.
‘Willa” was LW’s idea. I liked its Midwestern sound, so I went along with it. (Confession: I sometimes pretend we live in a many-shelved loft in Chicago that overlooks the Lake and smells of wheat and smoke and the perfume of Billie Frechette.) Next time I’ll tell the story behind the name, and it has nothing to do with my unloved paperback of My Antonia that LW lost back in high school, deliberately, I suspect.
Let me begin by telling you why I’m writing this diary. First, I love to talk about my books–What library wouldn’t, given the opportunity? Second, I want to bitch a little: SPACE, PLEASE! or HEY, WATCH IT WITH THAT GLASS! Stuff like that.
But, mainly, this private library likes to play private detective. I plan to explore the life and obsessions of my facilitator, to whom, after all, I owe my existence. I’ll address questions such as: Is there a method to her collecting madness? What’s with that new book, The Love Doll? And what does it have to do with that book about Mark Twain she bought at the same time? And how does Ryan Gosling fit into the story? By connecting one book with another, I hope to trace the labyrinth of our entwined lives.
*A wild guess; I really have no idea.