I’m house-sitting for my dear friend Julia and as I told her, have been spending lots of time supine on the blue-green velvet couch leafing through photo books of Maasai warriors, Garry Winogrand, and Gardens of the Berkshires.

It’s always interesting inhabiting someone else’s “space.”

“Wardrobes with their shelves, desks with their drawers, and chests with their false bottoms are veritable organs of the secret psychological life. Indeed, without these “objects” and a few others in equally high favor, our intimate life would lack a model of intimacy. They are hybrid objects, subject objects. Like us, through us and for us, they have a quality of intimacy.

Does their not exist a single dreamer of words who does not respond to the word wardrobe?

And to fine words correspond fine things, to grave-sounding words, an entity of depth. Every poet of furniture–even if he be a poet in a garret, and therefore has not furniture–knows that the inner space of an old wardrobe is deep. A wardrobe’s inner space is also intimate space, space that is not open to just anybody.

But words carry with them obligations. Only an indigent soul would put just anything in a wardrobe. To put just anything, just any way, in just any piece of furniture, is the mark of unusual weakness in the function of inhabiting. In the wardrobe there exists a center of order that protects the entire house against uncurbed disorder. Here order reigns, or rather, this is the reign of order. Order is not merely geometrical; it can also remember the family history. A poet* knew this:

Ordonnance. Harmonie.
Piles de draps de l’armoire
Lavande dans le linge.

(Orderliness. Harmony.
Piles of sheets in the wardrobe
Lavender in the linen.)”

–Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

*Colette Wartz, Paroles pour l’autre, p. 26


  1. Anonymous says: Reply

    I relate Heather.
    Although I haven't house sat for anyone-I relate to the wardrobe. Not, just as clothes-but, dreaming of having a huge organized closet(mini room)where I can rest. It would be my space.

    And, I relate to the lack of unpacking.


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