While growing up, my sister and I watched endless reruns of Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and That Girl and then took turns pretending to be the lead characters. While Marlo Thomas had, hands down, the best wardrobe, it was way cooler to be Samantha or Jeannie because they were magic. But given that Samantha was married to dweeby Darren, Jeannie was the best. She had a handsome boyfriend, lived where it was always warm and sunny, could blink up any outfit she wanted, and best of all, she had her own private space: a bottle.
Even though I drew detailed plans on how to build a room adjacent to the bedroom I shared with my sister that would look just like the interior of Jeannie’s bottle (accessed via a secret passage that only I would know about) my dad refused to add it on to our split-level house in Colonial Acres. (I realize now that this could have been because his tool box consisted only of a hot melt glue gun and an Xacto blade.)
I loved Jeannie’s bottle with its cozy bank of plush purple cushions and the satin pillows tossed casually about. There was just enough room for her, some candles, and a book. Its scale appealed to me then and still does.
In tiny spaces, things are manageable.
In a tiny space, it’s easy to believe that nothing bigger than what you can handle will happen.
In a small space, there’s only room for one person. (Maybe some books, but certainly no pesky sisters.)
When life is contained in a small space, it is simpler. It feels safe.
Currently, I’m revising a new novel, one that features a woman who lives in a tiny house. While researching this project I fell in love all over again with small spaces, compact environments where there is no room for excess, mistakes, the unwanted, or the unnecessary—the kind of space so many of us seem to be yearning for, even if it’s just in our imaginations.
By the way, the inspiration for Jeannie’s bottle was a special issue Jim Beam whisky decanter! [https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertanaas/2017/04/25/i-dream-of-jeannie-home-a-jim-beam-whiskey-bourbon-bottle-expected-to-fetch-100000-at-auction/#436fb7aa5af8