A Desk of One’s Own

I bring marvelous news: I now own my very own writing desk. It might not matter to anyone else, but to a writer, it matters! It matters!

As perhaps the finest object I now possess, this writing desks contains within it an entire network of personal history, friendship, and artistry that now provides the literal and metaphorical foundation of my writing life.

I still can’t believe it. I’m pinching myself. I’m writing from this desk at this very moment.

It’s a desk crafted from the wood of the towering white oaks from my husband’s grandparents’ home—technically quarter sawn to reveal the beauty of this wood. I love that I have a piece of family history here.

When my husband learned that the trees needed to be cut down, he claimed the wood for future woodworking projects. And he asked his woodworking friend, Horst, of deLorenzi Custom Woodworking, to build this beautiful desk. When Horst delivered the writing desk, I loved it immediately. He fashioned it after a classic “library desk” look. How fitting for me! Horst has been a dear friend to Ashley and me for over a decade, and that fact that he made this with his own hands—in a way he knew I’d love—makes this desk so special. There will never be another desk like this ever in the whole wide word. It’s a truly original object.

It’s the desk I’ve been waiting for. Maybe for my whole life.

I’m one of those writers who always loved to see photographs of writers in their writing spaces, and I longed for the day I might have a grand space—an actual desk of my own, made for me, just for me. What kind of writer might I be with a desk so fine?

I think about the history of my writing here. The desk invites reflection. First, my father’s desk in our home in Ft. Lewis, Washington where I practiced the very handwriting for which people always compliment me. When we moved to Alexandria, Virginia, my father turned one of my closets into a desk. He attached a board into the closet that served as the prop for my first Brother Wp-3400 Word Processor. I typed my poems there. I typed my college application to the University of Virginia there. I loved that word processor where I learned to type as fast as my words could form. At Virginia, I sprawled out upon the college-provided dorm room desk, this time with a real computer and printer. Here, the poems turned into longer short stories and essays that shaped a whole philosophy of writing and living. Graduate school meant writing in coffee shops, in libraries, and on old aluminum desks in the basement. It meant marriage where my desk crammed into the tiniest bedroom possible–next to carseats and cribs–so that when I scooted out from the desk, I was now on top of the bed.

Oh, the desks! Desks from garage sales and Target. Desks formed from kitchen tables and counter tops as little feet dashed around me. I wrote anywhere I could, on any surface, with any tool.

But today, I sit here. It’s a new moment and, perhaps, a new me. I run my hand along the wood. I lean down to smell it and to welcome it here. And then, I write.

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