That picture you’re looking at is my writing table. Actually, its two Ikea tables put side by side, but I consider it only one. People tell me it looks neat and orderly and I guess it is. That’s probably the old accountant coming out in me, but it’s not an accountant’s table. I type or write sentences on it. I don’t add up numbers.
I think I’ve had five or six writing tables and/or desks in my writing career. For years, I used my grandfather’s old desk. I used it until it fell apart. Since then I’ve used mostly tables—even used a butcher block kitchen table for a few years. I liked it fine, but I like having those two Ikea tables side by side better.
I remember four or five years ago, a young writer called me at CityBeat wanting to know how he could start contributing to the Living Out Loud column. My standard answer to this question was always, “Send me a sample of your work.” I don’t recall why, but this answer wasn’t good enough for him. He wanted to meet up. I think maybe he was offering drinks or something. That’s probably why I agreed to see him.
I think his name was Andy and he lived in Downtown Cincinnati in a fancy apartment. I remember him showing me around his place. He actually had a study and in it, a big, fancy oak desk. On top of it was a newer laptop with a printer beside it. I remember the chair being fancy too.
“Here’s where the magic happens,” he said with a big smile on his face. I just looked at him and smiled back.
I’m sure other writers have said that about the place where they do their writing, but for me I’ve never had any magic happen at my desk or table. I’ve had a few ideas come to me and maybe I’ve put a few good sentences together, but the word magic never enters my mind. The word work seems better suited for me. No, I’m not digging ditches, but writing is work.
It’s odd. I never did hear from Andy after that meeting with him. He never submitted any of his work to me at all, never wrote a thing for CityBeat. Maybe the magic just wasn’t there.
(Photo taken by my son)