Shoved in the corner is a box made of deep, dark wood and lined in cedar. Clawed legs grew out from the bottom elevating this keeper of keepsakes, a piece rich in history and story itself, beyond what it contains. It’s hidden in blankets and the debris of this modern life. Debris just modern enough to be useless and forgotten.
Whatever beautiful beast hides under all those shrouds is forbidden. It is kept, gathering a thick skin of dust, for the older generation once the eldest passes. I have to claim to them in the future, and no right to them now.
This room, needing its purpose, is too crowded with forbidden, useful, and beautiful things, it can’t breathe. It can’t support the weight of more. The clutter climbs towards the ceiling.
I do the unthinkable. I unshroud it, pull it from its dim corner. I put it to use. But not before I peel off the layers of dust and appraise tiny nicks and gouges. It’s old. Archaic stories have been dug into it. There’s a lock meant to keep the top from hinging open but when I lift it, I am allowed passage.
Animals frozen in wide glass-eyed terror stare up at me. At least two, arms linked forever forming an arch of ladies highest fashion.
Weasels. I close their coffin lid.
This becomes my writing desk therefore making my first act as a full time writer, an author, one of defiance and law breaking, of trespassing in a place I absolutely belong. I feel its original owner give me a nod and a little smile. Babchi knows, because I value the stories of this family, that this piece is best suited for me to forge my tales upon.
So I had a little fun with telling the story of creating my writing space. Yes, when I began to craft the space I looked around in anger at the three generations of stuff we were holding onto for the people not here, not doing the caretaking work. We usually walk on egg shells because some family members would loose there shit. But in every room and nearly every hallway we trip over their future loot.
So I wondered if I could use this hope chest which was shoved in the corner, wanting both the piece of furniture and the space it would leave behind. While I was writing this post, I learned a couple things.
#1: Using this piece as a writing desk was an act of defiance, and was also smart and the right way to go. Why not use resources I already have? See what I did here? Maybe this isn’t just about furniture. I left the 9-5 (although we know those hours in no way represent the hours a teacher puts in.) I abandoned the idea of getting a pay check so I could pay my bills. But it is the right way to go. It is smart. I have so many resources, internally and externally, to propel me soundly through this.
#2: When I wrote that I was “trespassing where I absolutely belong,” I first meant, or thought I meant, in this family. I may not always get viewed as family or as having a claim but I know I belong here and I am one of the two full time caretakers for this grandmother I love. So yes, I have a right to being in this family and in this house. But this is also what I feel like as a writer. I have always been writing, but never comfortable calling my self a writer. When I quit my job and people asked me what was next, I would maximize caretaking and minimize writing – “I’m needed at home to take care of my grandmother and I’ll also do some writing.” True, but not truthful. Being A WRITER feels like walking into the Dixie Pig in nothing but my underwear. It’s a devilish bar full of hellish creatures who eat people. Gulp! Then I realize writing is in my blood and that is complete protection from all monsters because I write them. I’m their puppet master and when I am done with them I can close the lap top and walk away victorious.
(Yet, a quiet voice reminds me: You’ll never be done with them…)
Certainly not Pinterest worthy but I love my space!
Also a working title for this post:
There Be Weasels!