- by Elaine Isaak
Have any of you seen the old Ray Bradbury Theater tv show? It featured the author (one of my heroes) introducing short film versions of his stories. The first time we watched it, my mother looked at me in amazement and said, “That’s you! That’s your office!”
You see, the show opens with Ray entering a building, providing voice-over remarks about how people wonder where he gets his ideas, then he opens the door to his office. . .which looks like a museum of the bizarre. There are toy dinosaurs and ethnographic objects, bones, knick-knacks and science fiction memorabilia arrayed from floor to ceiling, leaving just enough room for Ray, his desk, and his typewriter.
During my last move, I divested myself of many of my own oddities, but others still lurk here in boxes, waiting for the installation of new shelving. My new office has a great corner for my desk (very ergonomically correct), and a door that I can close to keep people out. Mostly small people who like to help with my new pen-style mouse which is probably not saliva-proof. I have a huge bulletin board on one wall and a couple of book cases filled with reference works and writing how-to books. I am a how-to addict, despite having written more than a dozen books. Go figure.
Another bookcase contains my own notes, notebooks, folders and files. I even bought a little quarter-round bookshelf to see if it would hold my fat three-ring manuscript binders. Like everything else in here, it is now bulging with excess material.
But in among all of these signs of a professional workspace, are the other things. An artificial bonsai over my monitor, with a little figure reading a book underneath it. Does it help me write? Who knows! But it’s like a little summer vacation right there in front of me. An empty bottle of Chaucer’s honey mead. Lovely bottle. When full, the gift of a friend to celebrate my first novel sale. A little box of treasures I found while digging in the mud of the Thames foreshore in London. A hawk’s feather from the nesting tree in my yard.
I do have a few items that pertain to works in progress, like an artificial dinosaur claw necklace and reproduction coins from medieval England, but most of these things have found their way here for no particular purpose except that they drew me on. They contain their own stories, and I may never write them, but they remind me of the mysteries to be found all around me. Talismans of the things that move me and excite me to write.