Monday, April 11, 2011

Where I Write

(very much inspired by this piece on the Rumpus by Chloe Caldwell).

On the left sits Testimony for Man, a history of the City of Hope medical center outside of Los Angeles. It's on top of a Verizon bill I'd rather not open. An iPhone I found under an overpass in L.A. has the headphones plugged in. I use it as an iPod. Most recently I listened to an episode of This American Life about a reporter who confronts the man who raped him when he was a kid. He has an elaborate plan to murder the rapist, but changes his mind when his parents discover what happened by reading an ancient diary. The reporter says, "If you have a secret and you don't want anyone to know it, never write it down." That's a paraphrase. He also says, "Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengence is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." That's from the Bible. Under the iPhone are some tax documents I'd also rather not look at.

A tiny framed painting by James Kochalka leans against an external hard drive. I bought the painting at Wizard World Chicago many years ago, when that was the city where I lived. I like it a lot, and I always keep it near the place where I work. In front of the painting is a cross-stitched Abraham Lincoln K gave me for my birthday this year. Next to that is a small bust of Abraham Lincoln that I bought at Lincoln's birthplace in one of my cross-country drives. That particular drive was in 2008, from Oakland to Ohio, and I bought two of the same bust. I kept one and sent one to SJ. I have a lot of Lincolns in my office, and they're all related to girls in one way or another. What does that say? About me, about Abe?

There are speakers plugged into my computer. My current MacBook is a replacement for the one I spilled Coca-Cola on when I lived in Ohio after grad school. I think it's lasted the longest out of all of my computers. I probably shouldn't have written that -- I'm not superstitious about much except for computers.

On the other side of my computer is a Cincinnati Reds gnome my mom sent to me before my Los Angeles-Vermont cross-country drive. She asked me to take pictures of the gnome as I drove, and I did, even though some kids were a little too-cool-for-school about it. But I thought it was fun, and it was something my mom asked me to do. There are a lot of little action figures next to gnome -- a cylon, Captain Marvel, Thanos, two Spider-Men and a Green Goblin. I don't know what to do with them, but sometimes I pick them up when I'm reading, or when I'm thinking about what to write.

There's a picture frame with family photos in it, also something my mom gave to me. It has pictures of my dad and Ma, my parents' dog Daisy, our backyard in Ohio, a family photo from several Christmases ago (we're all in the picture, so I think it was taken by AM), and a picture of my dad, my brother, Grandpa Jent's tree, and me.

There's a rock in front of the frame, but I don't remember where it came from. Possibly the beach of Lake Champlain, from the visit K and I took here last year, when we decided to move to Vermont. There's a rubber D&D Grell monster, and a heavy lead Watcher statue Pato gave me for my birthday this year. There's a white NBA sweatband I sometimes wear when I'm writing. There are two pens, my current journal, my wallet, and a stack of books: DK Eyewitness Mythology (from K, from birthdays past), the Tanakh, The Emperor of All Maladies, and They Called It the City of Hope, all for work. Beneath the books -- more bills, mostly paid.

Behind me there's a pillow AM made for me long ago, that I use to rest my feet on when I want to write and recline. A calendar, a page torn out from an oversized comic book, Galactus the Devourer of Worlds, and a printer that hasn't worked lately. A copy of Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, and a robot action figure.

Up ahead of me and to the left I have hung up a map of my novel. There's a book case with the books I'm not currently reading, but that I like keeping close -- Popeye comic strips, D&D books, theses and books my friends have written. On top of the bookcase is another Abe, this one wearing Mardi Gras beads, and a concrete Elvis that Sharon gave me longer ago than almost anything else that's happened to me that even counts, as a grown-up anyway. Across from me is the open doorway to the kitchen that won't be mine much longer. I'm terribly nervous that I won't find a place to live with an open workspace like this one. I tend to romanticize where I am, whether that's a good idea or not. I can never imagine finding friends, or finding places to spend my time, that will be as rewarding as the ones I currently have. But then, I always do. That's not to diminish the friends I have, or have made in the past -- every one matters, and I mean it. But there are just *so many* interesting people in the world. They're everywhere, all the time. I want to meet as many as I can.

I'm terribly nervous, and terribly excited.


Chloe Caldwell said...

Matthew---Fucking awesome!

Matthew Jent said...