Now I have no more excuses as I have the proper tool: I have a writing desk. Actually, it’s the second one I’ve purchased. I bought the one that sits, unused, in my bedroom. It, too, is a perfectly good desk at which to write. I bought it in 2003 for my new office in our home on Forest Grove Drive. I told people that’s where I would write my memoir.
So, why didn’t I? And why did I ‘have’ to buy another one? Good questions, considering the room was ‘my office’ (truly more like a retreat area) for around five more years before it became our daughter Hope’s playroom from Santa (Christmas 2008).
I have remained very busy since losing Wes and Andy. I can give all kinds of excuses as to why I haven’t written ‘my book’ yet. I can also justify as to why that desk wouldn’t suffice, but I won’t.
I am simply going to write. That’s what Carol Henderson has been preaching to our bereaved mothers’ writing group for over twelve years now: “It’s all about the writing.” So just doing it seems the perfectly logical thing to do, right? Right…write.
Perhaps being a transplant in this community allows me more opportunity to write. I don’t have as many commitments here and fewer friends to ‘distract’ me as well. Shopping opportunities take more planning, although I could certainly use that one as an excuse! Buying this desk had been a mission for me for almost three months. When I get a ‘bee in my bonnet’ I am unstoppable, almost to the point of becoming obsessive. I searched Winston-Salem’s and Concord’s antique and vintage stores until I found it. The irony is that I happened upon this one while shopping with two of my oldest and dearest friends with whom I am committed to lifelong friendships…sort of negates the ‘commitment, distracted by friends, and limited shopping opportunities’ excuses doesn’t it? Not really.
This desk, a drop-leaf secretary, probably made in the 1940s, is more inviting than the one that adds a decorator touch to my bedroom. I love to imagine that someone who has probably gone on to a higher place truly used this desk. It appears so. This desk has stories. My laptop is probably the first one to ever perch upon its writing surface. The desk is probably thinking, “What is this thing?”
Years ago, perhaps some well-respected merchant owner, professor, lawyer, or cotton mill executive’s forearms rested here as he was doing his respective job in ledgers or on typewriters. And ‘his’ is the correct pronoun. I seriously doubt a woman would have used it often. If so, she would have been writing correspondences: invitations to dinner, thank you notes for a thoughtful gesture done by friends, letters to family, perhaps to a daughter away at college.
My desk’s writing surface is well-used. Blemishes are prolific, but the wood feels warm and hospitable, as if begging after years of being ignored, “Please, write on me.” And I will. Sometimes I may bring out one of many journals, most less than half-used, and write in the way the woman (or women) whose dainty (or not) forearms and wrists’ graced the edge and whose hands drew thoughtful words on pretty paper. I will leave my words, in one of three drawers below. Empty now, perhaps someday I will have them filled with my memoirs. And those that I type, I promise now that I will print them and stack them, beginning with this piece.
And if for no one else, I pray that Hope will find them someday. She will learn who I was, and who I aspired to be—a mother who wanted to leave a legacy of words from the deepest recesses of her heart at the invitation of a writing desk. I graciously accept this invitation.