Did you ever stop to think of all the people who make you who you are— the ones who touch your life in ways small and large, across time and distance?
As my husband and I settled in our new-to-us home this summer —the one where we plan to grow old together, we continued to see touches of our parents, grandparents, daughters and grandkids throughout the house. Things like a quilt, an old typewriter and crock, an often-played game connected us across generations.
There are bits, too, of each of us— things that celebrate who we are, both separately and together, but that’s a post for another day.
Just this evening, I put all but the last few items in place in my home office. As a writer and editor working full-time from home, it’s important for me to have a space where I can think, create, and wrangle with words, both mine and others. Just as a carpenter needs a good level, I need tools of my trade—a computer, a comfortable desk and chair, and a couple of style guides.
And, for my passion, the study of regional literature and history and of Abraham Lincoln, I need more than a few book shelves and a pretty substantial library—organized so that I can put my hands on any volume in minutes.
Yes, my library is cataloged, by the Dewey Decimal system, within each collection. Uh-huh, I know they have a word for that.
The books have been in place for more than a week now, as have the desk, the computer and a floor lamp shaped like a pencil. As I’ve sifted through boxes from the old house over the past few days, I continued to find things that made my office feel a little more mine each day.
Some of the things I put in place were essentials—a cup full of pens, pencils and markers, a desk tray filled with paper clips and the like, notepads and sticky notes, and a coaster for my beverages—coffee in the morning, water in the afternoon, an adult beverage from time to time in the evening.
Others were those special touches that say, “This is Ann’s space.” Some things, like the pencil sharpener shaped like a cash register, a lace potpourri satchel and a pencil cup from friends who have passed away, and the white board of inspirational quotes I kept handy as I wrote my first manuscript, were only packed up for a short time.
Finally, this week, I added to my office many treasures that I haven’t seen for more than a year.
A little more than 16 months ago, I left a corporate job where I worked from a cubicle each day. Within that space were things that were special to me, most of them because of other people—photos of my kids and grandkids, an apple-shaped clock and a candy bowl from friends I once worked with at a grocery store, a crocheted coaster from one customer and a counted cross-stitch saying about a hug from another, a leadership award from a fellow Toastmasters officer—and a whole lot of things about Abraham Lincoln.
It’s amazing how, when people learn that you have a passion, they have a tendency to fuel it. On my office shelves are prints and statues of Lincoln, handwritten and hand-stitched quotations, a page about Lincoln from a devotional booklet, Lincoln trivia from a Cracker Jack box, and special Lincoln gifts in commemoration of my retirement.
Each of this gifts or pieces of memorabilia defines, in some way, the person I was along the way and the one I am today. But, even more than that, almost without exception, the things surrounding me in my office connect me to the people I’ve met along my path, people whose lives have touched mine and made me “me.”
Because of them, I am.
In the same way, as I sit down at this keyboard each day, the words I put on paper—virtual or real, are because of you.
It seems to me there are two things that motivate all writers—having an insatiable need to work with words and hoping that someone else will read what we write.
It’s why I do what I do.
Because of you, dear reader, I am.
© Ann Tracy Mueller 2012