I have a shelf, actually a couple of shelves, where I keep items I’ve worked on. A friend, Emma Boniwell, mentioned that she has one too – we both just worked on the same magazine – but she has a name for this type of shelf.
And for the life of me I can neither remember quite what it is, or ask her. The former is because I’m rubbish, and the latter is because I’ve already asked her to remind me and I forgot again.
I think she calls hers a boasting shelf or maybe a bragging one. There’s definitely a very high degree of self-deprecation and even self-criticism in her term for it, but that’s one place where she’s wrong. There is something special about making things. There is something both special and reassuring about a growing number of things you’ve made.
It’s not bragging, it’s not as if you show anyone else, but it is a bit of pride and that’s damn right.
And I know this, I believe this, because of my own shelf.
When something is going badly and you alternate between wishing you’d never started it and being certain you’ll never finish anything, I think it’s reassuring to see a shelf full of what you’ve done before.
Also daunting. Right this second, I realise that it’s also daunting. Thanks very much.
Perhaps that’s why, completely unconsciously, I slowly moved my own bragging shelf to behind my Mac.
So the books and whatever are within reach for the odd time I need to refer to them, but otherwise they’re out of sight.
Or they were until this week when my Mac died.
It’s currently being repaired, but for several days now I’ve been having to work on my iPad and my iPhone, and they’re not blocking my view of anything.
My bragging shelf has reappeared. And now I’m torn over what to do when my Mac returns. There is a bit of me, a huge bit, that likes seeing a dozen books, countless magazine and newspaper issues, DVDs and Doctor Who CDs.
I like that and I am proud of them, yes. Most of them.
But there is also a bit of me that likes the notion of them always being there yet only appearing from time to time.