The place where I write.

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My memory desk

Irene Waters posted on writing the other day and in amongst her pearls of wisdom was an explanation of where she writes best. I commented that I like to mix it up, between the noise and bustle of my kitchen and the quiet and peace of the room over the garage. It is there I want to take you and share with you something I’m quite proud of, which means a lot to me and which brings a smile to my face whenever I see it. It is both a refuge and a family shrine and it both stimulates and inspires me.

My desk.

In truth it is my dad’s desk. It is, or was, a replica of a small partners’ desk with a knee hole on each side, a stack of drawers on each plinth-leg and a leather insert in the top in a fetching rot-green. It looked antique but was cobbled together in the 1980s, made of chipboard and cheap laminate panelling and stained to look like some sort of hardwood.

If its genesis is nothing to write home about, its proportions are perfect for me. The space for my legs is, in fact just right. I use an old fashioned school chair, hard seat and all (my genes have dictated a number of features which, if I’m honest, I can take or leave, but I’ll keep my derriere, ta very much – the padding has done me proud cushioning numerous pratfalls and hard bicycle seats). The chair is one I purloined from the Vet – a girlfriend painted it and gave it to her for a birthday and it suits the setting. It means I can position myself close to the edge and thus force myself into a decent, if not perfect, posture for typing at my laptop. The height works to make sure I don’t lean forward too much.

The size of the top is good too. I’m a  bit of a clutterbug so to have something that can hold, at any one time: my laptop; a plate of food; an open book; and a table lamp but not much else is just dandy.

All of which would be fine before I decided to decorate it. When I inherited it on Dad’s death in 2005 my loosely formed plans were to paint it a gaudy colour or two and leave it at that. Then one day I was drifting down the high street in Southwold on the Suffolk coast and spied a desk in a  shoe shop. It was covered in pictures and prints covering a lot but not all the surface. Between the pictures it was a deep mustard yellow which, in all probability, would have been dreadful without the clever disposition of the pictures.

And so the memory desk was born. The nature of this desk is that is has inset panels, including on the top. I agonised over the base colour – in the end the rose pink just seemed right, not sure why. A friend, who paints scenery for a living – she works on a ridiculously huge scale for the likes of Les Mis or Mama Mia – suggested I leaven the pink with a crackle glaze in a contrasting colour – cream. That was the base.

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sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits…

Then on the top and around the rim I stuck pictures of my family. Staring with Mum and Dad and radiating out to the Lawyer and Vet the top is covered. I had a piece of glass cut to protect the pictures, hence the reflection from the spotlights.

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whichever way you sit you have me smiling at you!

On the rim I stuck a picture of each of my grandparents and then through the Archaeologist, the Textiliste, the Nurse (no. 1) and so on.

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The Lawyer, the Artist, the Teacher and the Vet

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Mum, Dad, my uncle, my aunt, the Archaeologist, me, the Textiliste, the Nurse (no 1) and my cousins – others to add soon!

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My paternal grandpa (Gordon), maternal grandpa (Percy), paternal grandma (Gladys) and maternal grandma (Grace).

I’m not sure who, but someone stopped me filling up the main side panels. ‘If you have grandchildren then they might want a panel each. Nice idea, not that I’m prejudging anything!

And there you have it. I sit there and think; I have my family supporting me in my writing. It’s my inspiration, my joy, and, most importantly there are enough picky sods telling me ‘just get on with it’.


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in memoires, miscellany, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to The place where I write.

  1. Charli Mills says:

    You are The Man! That is the coolest desk! I’m so inspired…I have several nooks for desks because I dream of other writers coming here to work on projects and I’ve seen cheap, $5, $10 desks that I could fix up but didn’t have this in mind until I saw the light! It must feel so good surrounded and supported by family as you write! Lovely nook you have above the garage. I like your lavender walls around the window. Excelente!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Thank you. I am quite chuffed by it. If it inspires you that is brilliant. It became more complex as I thought it through but it can be very straightforward. A basic colour a set of pictures and some clear varnish. Poooof! A desk to die for
      I want to do some cheap ones too. With recipes from magazines and famous literary figures and their quotes and gardens I’ve known and so on.


      • Charli Mills says:

        Splendid ideas! I wonder if a person could make these weather-proof. I suppose a metal desk with outdoor paint, heavy varnish? I’ve fancied having an outdoor desk in summer. What a great “writer’s garden” to incorporate boldly pained desks among the flowers and peas. Varnish over the photos–great idea! I’m not crafty but I think I could give this a go!


      • TanGental says:

        It is pretty straightforward, given nothing has to be symmetrical or even smooth. That’s the joy of the pictures. They hide a multitude of sins and draw the eye from imperfections!


  2. Cindi says:

    Thank you for such an intimate and revealing look at your inspiration. What a fantastic idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great idea. Would scare the shit out of me having my family looking up at me every day! LOL!
    Did I spy a bespoke designer family photo table as well?

    adde parvum parvo magnus acervus erit!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Annecdotist says:

    Ah, that desk is a true work of art and a beautiful celebration of your most treasured relationships. I’m glad it’s right for your height, I had an old desk of that style (I mean in the original undecorated) for several years but the desktop was too high for me and if I raised my seat my legs got mangled by the middle drawer. Your desktop reminds me of how, in my first house, I had a toilet separate the bathroom and decorated the walls of the small cubicle with a collage of photographs of family and friends. This being in the predigital days it was somewhat rash of me to use my only copies in this way, as I couldn’t take them with me when I moved house, but it was quite gorgeous while it lasted.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Sherri says:

    What a lovely share, and an even lovelier idea for your desk. Gorgeous and supportive too 😉


  6. clodge2013 says:

    Lovely desk, with lots of reasons not to get on with writing at it! An inspiration.


  7. Norah says:

    What a cute desk, and how sentimental to be surrounded by your supportive family when you write. I love it. It is great that it is a perfect fit for you. I have a beautiful big, and very cluttered desk that Bob made for me in the early 80s. It has been a constant companion for over three decades and in five different homes. It was made to accommodate large sheets of cardboard (a little larger than A2 size) for making charts for use in my early childhood classroom. Charts are no longer made, but the space is well, if messily, filled. The shelves are cluttered with books, souvenirs, mementos, photos and reminders. It will be a sad day for me when we downsize and a new home won’t be able to accommodate my desk. Thanks for sharing this glimpse into your personal writing space.


  8. willowdot21 says:

    Never mind the quality feel the width. I love it.


  9. Pingback: A muse bouche | TanGental

  10. I absolutely love this, Geoff.


  11. Eliz~ says:

    Who are you sitting on? ;o)

    Liked by 1 person

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