Image of one of my writing desks at home. I currently have five writing desks, each with a different purpose.
First, I would like to thank everyone who expressed their concern for me and my family since my last post. In no particular order: Gretchen, Lily, Vince, Beth, Paula, Cynthia, Robin, Maisie, Vicky, Judith Heartsong, Christina and her mom. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, meditations, and for the information you shared about our son's illness.
Because this is a public forum and I use my real name, I won't talk about my son's illness in detail, but I will give a brief overview of what has happened the last month. Our son had to be hospitalized at the very beginning of December, just before the end of the semester, my busiest and most stressful time. I went on automatic pilot for a while. There was much to do at work and we visited our son at the hospital every day. Adding to our stress, during the time he was hospitalized, the temperatures here were bitter cold and we had two significant snowstorms, making the road conditions extremely treacherous.
Slowly, I have returned to myself. When I experience a devastation or a lot of stress, I need to retreat and take a lot of alone time. It helps me to sort things out. It isn't that I don't feel connected to my creative life or to my friends, but something important in me shuts down. As a result, I have to rebuild myself.
A lot has happened to me since I've been a Lecturer at BGSU: I lost both parents and a brother, and I had a major, life-altering operation. Not one of those events--not all of those events combined--approached the anguish I felt about our son's illness.
Our family has had and continues to have good and bad days, but I am happy to report that our son is now on promising medications. He is out of the hospital and doing better. I am feeling a sense of balance in my life again, enough to resume the blog.
I have visited your blogs and noticed that some of you posted pictures of your writing desks. So I reenter the world of blogging by offering mine. I have (right now) five desks at home. I say "right now" because I am ever adding another desk. I collect them, it seems. Each desk has a different purpose.
The desk in the photo is one I use to write letters and do typing projects. I am the owner of three wonderful manual typewriters I bought off eBay. This gray one is an Olympia model, made in the fifties. It has a wide carriage and is tough as a tank. I've been using it the last few weeks to type out notecards for my Ohio River Boat Journey project. (Many of you will remember that my husband and I floated down the Ohio River for 8 weeks this past summer and that I'm trying to write a book about it.)
Look to the right of the typewriter: see that big stack of notecards? Those are the cards I've finished. I would say there are probably around 150 cards in that stack alone. And I have just barely scratched the surface of my project.
The open box to the right of the cards is a cigar box one of my sons gave me, actually the son that is ill. I'm using this box to hold the finished cards. I can envision I will need several boxes to hold cards. I haven't done notecards since I wrote my Master's Thesis back in the '80s (From X to I: The Evolution of Salinger's Narrative Method). I'd forgotten how much fun it is to do notecards! Yes, that's right. I love doing notecards!
It is probably hard to see, but on the back of the desk is an old-fashioned glass milk bottle. Inside it is a long stick wrapped with leather, decorated with beads, and topped with a buzzard skull. I collect bones and skulls (more on that sometime). My husband made this stick for me many years ago, and I cherish it. Inside the jar is also a back scratcher shaped like a hand. It has an element of magic to me, and I enjoy looking at it.
Just to the left of the jar, glowing orange, is a turtle nightlight.
Next to the jar is a stuffed bird, another of my Goodwill treasures, a recent acquisition, one I've had to take a lot of ribbing for. As you can see, our youngest son, Brian placed a plastic gorilla on its back when he was here for Christmas, as a joke. That is a quirky habit our sons have: they rearrange my treasures in order to "tell" funny stories. So my bird suddenly has "a monkey on its back" and a hungry lion attacking its feet. My stuffed characters from Nightmare Before Christmas suffer similar terrors, although Sally is forever being saved by Jack or vice-versa. And etc.
Next to the bird is a white monkey-like creature my husband made from clay. We raku fired the piece in our yard just this past summer. The tall blue cat was also made by my husband, back when Bill Bradley was running for president. The cat looks like Bill Bradley to me, so I call it Bradley. Behind Bradley, on the wall, is a mirror.
On the left corner of the desk is a cedar letterbox my husband made for my mother many years ago. When she died, I assumed possession of it. Hanging from the little green lamp is a cloth bird from India, a gift from one of my creative writing students.
The picture on the wall is a collage by Marce Dupay.
Well, that is one little corner of my life.
Again, thanks to all for your comfort and your patience. May we all have a wonderful, productive year.