The Writer’s Office

I don’t tend to look around at my office very often.  Its walls and drawers and surfaces are like an exhibit of  my past. And I don’t want to think about my past when I’m “at work.”

When we first moved to this house about three years ago, I set the room up the way I wanted it then and have rearranged the furniture once—a couple of weeks ago. But the walls are pretty much the same, and the elements of each surface have stayed the same. My computer is on the same desk, but the desk has been moved to a side wall. My printer is on the same shelf, my catchall roll top that I repaired and refinished is at my back.

Now that I’m thinking about it, this room is almost a museum. The walls display my sister’s wedding, a photo of my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew from at least thirty years ago, my parents’ wedding picture, a family photo taken at my niece’s wedding. But my own wedding picture, taken just a couple of years ago, is on the piano in the living room.

I have a poster of the old Minneapolis North Side, where I grew up, that includes the Homewood movie theater, the deli, and a fiddler dancing on the roof of the Plymouth Avenue streetcar. And near that, for no particular reason, a poster of Marlene Dietrich. When I look up from my laptop, I see a photo of the Minnesota Daily office from 1960. There’s a guy lying on the copy desk I don’t know, but everyone else in there was a close friend. The typewriters are as ancient as the Royal I have displayed on a living room table. Four book covers, framed, a Sylvia cartoon Nicole Hollander did during a class she took from me at UC Extension. A self-portrait our dear old friend Luigi drew and sent to us. He no longer has any hair. A self-portrait of me, in oils, that I painted from a photo Luigi took of me.

And a Certificate of Merit my father earned at the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant for a suggestion he made that was adopted by the Federal Cartridge Corporation that “aided the nation in its war effort.”

It’s been a while since I took the time to look at these pieces of my DNA.




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