I have written before about segregating work spaces to aid in focus and concentration. My day-job space is just fine. But my writing space has taken longer to set right.
A few weeks ago, on a whim, I searched eBay for “writing desk”. Amongst others, up popped an antique writing/arts desk, Edwardian, 1900-1910. It was nothing particularly special, a few obvious knocks and marks, but sturdy. The auction started a £0.99, but was withdrawn before the official ending time.
A couple of weeks later, the table returned. This time, starting at £95. It ended without a bid. I was interested, but simply could not justify that much money at that time: if I was going to have this table, it would have to be a proper bargain. I filed the notion into the “wasn’t meant to be” drawer.
Just over a week ago, there it was again, starting at £0.99. I won the auction at around £25.
Why this table? You ask… I guess you never stumbled on the previous incarnation of this blog.
For a number of years I have been developing a series of books and stories under the banner of “Table Rappers”. Imagine combining Sherlock Holmes with The X-Files, and you get a fairly accurate picture. The first book, Persistent Spirit – currently in final editing – is set in 1902 London. There are five books planned at this time, and an already growing list of (currently) 37 short stories.
I have decided to acquire small, cheap items that have some association with what I am writing. I can see this becoming a tradition.
The writing desk, being from the appropriate era, is an ideal for its purpose. Perfectly sized, it’s solid and has the character of much use and age. It feels right.
For the second novel, my purchase has already been made. One of the characters is a sergeant in the Highland Light Infantry. I came across – by chance while researching his regiment – an antique collectable cigarette card featuring the regiment’s flag and badge – from Players Cigarrettes’ series entitled Badges & Flags of British regiments.
For the third novel? Who knows. There is already some connection with a wall clock that has been handed down through my family for several generations. Though relevant, it is not something I have come across. I suspect the appropriate item will turn up at some point after I begin writing that story.
I do not hold any value to these items beyond them being interesting, physical connections with the period and people wrapped up in the Table Rappers stories. They remind me of the work in which I have been immersed off-and-on for several years now; and if I am fortunate, for many more years to come.