I once had the idea to write a story about someone based on the entries to their check register. That type of compact, personal record seemed a gold mine of information as to what someone feels is important, where they go, who they see.
I didn’t use that idea when I realized that, in writing such a story, I would lose my moral high ground over Google tracking cookies. Instead, I’m contemplating a more complex issue: the stuff on my desk.
Let’s start with what I’m ignoring. It’s a Summary Prospectus Amendment from one of my two Individual Retirement Account providers. IRAs are great things when they sit there and quietly accumulate earnings, better still if you can watch your contributions grow, which I can’t as I’ve had only self-employment income since 2007. Perhaps the Summary Prospectus Amendment imparts something vital, such as, “Your retirement fund is going down the tubes at midnight, tonight. Please do something about it.” Naw, they’d never be that direct. Okay, I just peeked. My fund is still there, in black ink instead of red. That seems like enough investment work for now.
Ah, there’s the I-Pad my husband and I bought a few years ago, hoping to boost our CD sales by accepting credit cards. We’ve used it so rarely that, without exception, the purchaser has to walk us through the process. Mr. I-Pad is on the desk instead of in a file drawer because I’ll be needing him this weekend. I’ll be selling our Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue music CDs, a box full of hand-knit scarves and hats and my novella, Small-g City, at the Waitsburg Hometown Christmas craft fair. If you live in Waitsburg, WA and know how to operate “The Square” I hope you’ll come by and see me.
Marilynne Robinson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, stares accusingly at me from the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of Poets & Writers magazine. I’ve mentioned before that I procrastinate in reading literary industry publications. P & W tweaks me in particular, because they focus pretty heavily on MFA writing programs and that’s just not where my life is going. Should I move Marilynne Robinson from the desk to the arm of my recliner in the other room? That way, I might engage with P & W to the extent of getting a paper cut as I reach for my current fun read,The Bone Clocks (by David Mitchell).
Okay, now I’m down to the cool stuff. A super-cute glass cowboy boot mug that holds my scissors, bookmarks and pens. A print of last week’s blog that I’ll bundle with this one and send to Mom, who does not do computers. A tiny music box that my husband gave me; I can crank up “It’s a Wonderful World” any time I need to. A note from a cousin, recommending Kirkland Signature Series Red Wine, 91 points in the Wine Spectator, seventeen dollars a bottle. Next, my list of possible blog topics, including “the notes on my desk.” Here’s a sample:
*The apocalypse accordion lady
*Riding first class on the Nowhere Train
You might read more about these someday, if I remember why I wrote these notes in the first place.
My laptop computer is in the middle. I won’t go in to that now, as I consider it a sentient being rather than an inanimate object.
On the left side of my desk are three piles of books, notes and manuscript pages. Each one represents a novel-in-progress. They do not gather dust. Why? Because that’s where the real fun is!