The best ideas are when you take two older ideas that have nothing to do with each other, make them have sex with each other, and then build a business around the bastard, ugly child that results.
- James Altucher, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Mediocre Entrepenuers
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Today's story riffs on Mr. Altucher's memorable quote in a slightly sideways fashion. Rather than starting with two ideas and using them to birth a new idea, my brainstorm of the day reverse engineers that thought process. I started with one thing and ended up with two....so maybe I discovered I was carrying conjoined twins and had them surgically separated them at birth?
Alas. The problem with metaphors is that sooner or later, they all break down and cease to make sense. So let's throw this one aside and get straight to the point.
My new child is a work in process. Every morning my family wakes up
and comes downstairs to see what I moved around on these shelves
during the night while they slept. I am an ardent bookcase stylist,
and I look forward to obsessing over this project for weeks to come.
For the last three decades, a white bookcase has stood in my family room. It's been a sturdy workhorse, reinvented many times over as my family has grown. Though I must clarify that technically, it has always been two bookcases - one section about twice as wide as the other - bolted together and serving as one.
For a reference point and a lovely trip down memory lane, flash back to the year 2012 and take a look at my family room in that day. Oh my goodness, literally everything has changed since then but the trusty white bookcase still lumbers on.
At least, it did until last March when we pulled all the furniture out of the first floor to make way for our new wood floors. And while the bookcase was cooling its heels out in the garage for a few weeks, I made a shocking discovery.
I liked my family room without the white bookcase
Blasphemy, I know.
I felt horribly guilty.
This is a nice, well-constructed white laminate bookcase, much more solid and substantial than the ubiquitous IKEA pieces that have become so popular since 1989.
And a perfect blank canvas for so many kinds of display and storage space.
I would be crazy to get rid of my white bookcase.
For sure there will be books. Black and white books. Bookends and geometric shapes will stay, along with my mom's old oak box, candles, plants. I need a bigger piece of art on the top shelf, and more white space. This is looking a bit too cluttered for me.
For the next four months, I deliberated.
Weighed my options.
Argued pros and cons.
Hemmed and hawed.
And this weekend, just when I thought I would surely go mad from my ridiculous angst, the perfect answer finally dawned on me.
I would break up the set.
The slice of wood on the third shelf down came from a cherry tree on my husband's grandfather's farm. Today I bought a new marimo ball that's living on the top shelf, and down on the bottom right, hiding in the shadows, is a little wicker suitcase I bought back in the 1970s. It lived with my mom for several decades and has now come back to me. All of these things will be staying on my new bookcase for sure. But exactly where? That's a good question.
^ The wider of the two sections was welcomed back into my family room, elegantly sleek and fresh to my eye, ready for a whole new look.
Love the clean, pristine presentation of my daughter's favorite dishes in her slim new bookcase.
^ And after a quick negotiation and personal delivery service, the narrow section has moved in with my first born, and now provides outstanding storage for coffee mugs, dishes, glasses, and cookbooks in her dining room.
What a happy ending to my existential crisis.
After all their years together, my twins are separated and ready to begin new lives of their own. I am set free from the terror of my either/or decision and living contentedly where I belong in the land of both/and.
And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to log a few more hours on styling my new bookcase. My baby requires lots of attention.