Saturday, September 12, 2009

Return of the desk

So here's the desk I wrote Mailman and Happyland sitting at, among other things. It used to live in my little 8x10 writing shed at our old house, with the tiny woodstove sitting on the left and the wall of corkboard on the right, and through the window in front of it I could watch squirrels stealing all the seeds from our bird feeder.

Then I got this job and found myself going to my office at Cornell instead of to the shed. Plus I was between novels and not writing much, and I didn't require a lot of solitude to do the editing stuff I was then busy with, and so for the better part of a year I didn't use the desk at all. Around this time we decided to move, so I went out to the shed to begin cleaning it out. I then discovered that mice had taken up residence in my files and in my typewriter, had shat upon many of my books, torn others of them up for bedding, and completely destroyed pretty much every personal letter I had ever received. They messed up the desk, too--the drawers were filled with seeds. One was so awful I had to punch out the bottom panel and burn it, along with all my ruined papers.

After we moved, I stored it in the basement, where it grew a thin layer of mildew. More mice moved into it. It sat there for more than two years.

Then, this past Thursday, I hauled it out into the light, washed the entire thing with bleach-soaked rags, let it dry, then rubbed it all over with Orange Glo. I did the same to my old office chair, and moved them both into our back room. Then I went to Target and bought a lamp.

I feel as though a great sin has been atoned for. I should never have let it get to that state! Right now my novel manuscript is sitting on it, waiting to be read--I will start on that tomorrow. I'm hoping the desk still has a bit of mojo in it, and if so, will forgive me for what I put it through.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it needed to tough love. Not much of a writer's-desk-story without the mice, really.

jrlennon said...

Well, it's a blog post, not Moby-Dick! But I suppose the mouse incident has bonded me more closely to it.

sjwoo said...

At the top right corner of the picture -- is that a variation of Munch's The Scream, by way of a blue gumby? Totally, absolutely cool.

That's a great desk -- the black lampshade goes with it very nicely.

By the way, I found that Kelly Link short story that was mentioned in the last post, Stone Animals, on her site (gift via Creative Commons). It's 37 pages long! I'm gonna do my best to read it today...

AC said...

I like the corner full of guitar cases. Looks like my bedroom. I hope those don't get mildewy!

jrlennon said...

The rest of the room is choked with music equipment...you can see a drum throne there on the left.

The paintings on the wall are by one of my sons!

Franz Neumann said...

For more writers' desks, see:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/writersrooms

jrlennon said...

Great link, thank you!

Nancy said...

I love the idea, implied here, that objects are to us what the landscape was to Thomas Hardy-
a wheel for the psychological narrative..

Great blog, J & R

ed skoog said...

Welcome back, desky.