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peeping tom-ism

Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Tuesday, 24 February 2009 in Uncategorized

A lot of comments, both here and elsewhere, about why authors blog, and who reads the blogs, and who cares, and why they do...indicate that many readers of authors blogs do so simply to get a glimpse into the day-to-day mundane life of someone whose work they like.  This would be my reason, if I had time for blog-reading, I think.  It's the same reason I used to love (until they became extinct, or obsolete) volumes of collected letters of writers. The best: Flannery O'Connor's, E.B. White's, and a few others whose names are eluding me at the moment. Oh yes, May Sarton's, for one. And Louise Bogan's.

A number of years ago, someone published a book of photos of writers' spaces. I loved poring over it, practically with a magnifying glass---looking at what kind of cigarettes they smoked (there was often a crumpled pack visible); what the view from their window was; what sort of pens were lying on the desk; if there were framed photos---of whom?  All of that. Prurient curiosity of the most shallow sort.

Once, when I was to speak on a panel with a bunch of other writers--and the topic was left to us, and we were all desperately trying to think of one---I suggested that we each simply describe our work space, or a desk, and talk about a few objects that were important.

But I got vetoed. No one else liked the idea, and I think we ended up talking about how we get our ideas, which in my opinion is unanswerable and a huge yawn.
My office
Anyway, today, thinking about this, I took a snapshot of my desk (above) and then realized what a MESS it is. Sometimes I clean it up but then it just reverts very quickly to its previous state.

Here are some things in the photo:

Andy Newman

This is a copy of a painting by my friend Andy Newman. I had mentioned to him how much I had loved a painting that he had in a gallery some years back---of course it is long sold and gone.  But Andy found a photo of it and reproduced it for me.  It arrived a few days ago in the mail and there it is, on my desk, at the moment.

Taxes etc

That ominous, frightening box is labeled TAXES 2008 and next week I am taking the whole box to Maine, where I will put it on my dining room table, along with a calculator and a box a Kleenex for when I get frustrated and weepy.  Then, between whimpers, I will organize all the things in those folders and get them into shape to go to my accountant and heave a huge sigh of relief.  But each year it is necessary that I get the stuff into this initial carton and look at it in despair for several weeks.  Part of the annual process.

Behind the TAXES box is a knitting container with a half-finished sweater that has been in that state for about 8 months. It is almost as guilt-producing as the TAXES box, but there are no legal or financial implications, unless you count the $90 worth of yarn.

Map GIVER

Here, of course, is my computer screen, and the photo on it is of the meadow that my house in Maine faces---one of the best views ever, and I can look at it with a deep sigh of pleasure if I have looked too long at the TAXES box.

If I have to prove in court that I took this photo today, there is a little calendar on the lower left corner of my computer screen that says February 24, Tuesday.

To the right of the computer screen, partly hidden, is a coffee cup containing pens. If you squint you can see, on the black cup,  a bit of the gold picture of an F-15 fighter jet pointing straight up. That was the plane my son flew, and in which he died; and on the other side of the cup is his name. It was his; it was on his desk. His widow gave it to me, and I treasure it. (And he would forgive the mess on my desk, even though his was ALWAYS organized and tidy).

And just one more photo, this one not of my desk:

LR with paintings

This is a corner of my living room, to show you a real painting by Andy Newman---the small one to the left of the door.  On the right of the door is a painting by Carl Nelson, whose photo is on the cover of THE GIVER. And over the fireplace you can see a painting by Middy Thomas, who does the illustrations for my Gooney Bird books.

And that is all for now.


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