Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Parlor and Workspace, 3



It’s amazing how much family history there is on this corner of my desk. I gave the shaving mug with the face on it to my father when I was a kid. He never used it, because his round Colgate soap wouldn’t fit in the bottom. The letter opener was a gift from the Fuller Brush man. The briar pipe belonged to my father’s brother, who died in World War II. I’ve puffed on that pipe. The glass ashtray was Dad’s, and saw heavy use back in his Pall Mall days, which ended in the mid-Sixties and gave way to his cigar days. In his honor, I’ve flicked a few cigar ashes into it myself. The Allen wrenches were also my uncle’s. I used them to take apart a bunk bed when we moved. He was an ace mechanic. We still have his tool chest. The wrist watch is Dad’s old Hamilton. He’d usually wear it when he ventured into town. I just wound it. It still runs, even the tiny second hand.

[click to enlarge]


Updates:
“Parlor and Workspace, 3” added to Penny Thoughts and Photographs.

In the Forum: traveling by thumb.

12 comments:

Jean Spitzer said...

Atmospheric, and interesting to read about the objects, as well. But mostly I'm impressed by how neatly everything is arrayed; very unlike any desk in my vicinity.

William Michaelian said...

After taking the picture, I noticed the roughly parallel lines created by the pen, the index card, the glasses, the Allen wrenches, and the watch. Neatness is one thing, but this could be evidence of a disturbance at a deeper level.

-K- said...

My father was a big Pall Mall smoker too, except he never quit. I'm sure he had one (or, more likely, several) on the day he died.

A Hamilton? Nice.

Leks said...

"Neatness is one thing,but this could be evidence of a disturbance at a deeper level",ahahaha,I love that one,it makes me feel much better about my own and only,chaos!Thank you, :O)

William Michaelian said...

Kevin, Dad was about forty when he gave up Pall Malls. He was standing on the ditch bank one morning when he lit his first cigarette of the day, then went into a coughing spree. He was so disgusted that he threw his pack into the water and never smoked a cigarette again. But he did switch to cigars soon thereafter, and smoked them for several years. Santa Fe Fairmonts, they were: “It pays to buy the best,” as Jackie Gleason used to say. Dad said the Fairmonts had “just the right blend of newsprint and horse shit.” Anyway, I grew up in a cloud of cigarette and cigar smoke, and used to admire how people used cigarettes and cigars as a prop during conversation.

William Michaelian said...

Good, Aleksa! I like the way you keep your chaos organized. In fact, a good name for a business would be Chaos Management, Ltd.

Leks said...

Weahahaha,now Im laughing out loud,it sounds great to hear my self laughing again,I would like really to do something with it,(if its OK with you,I mean if C= copyright is not problematic,:O)bruahaha,good name indeed)!!
Have a wonderful day. :O)
Aleksandra

William Michaelian said...

Yes, that will confuse the lawyers. They won’t know if the copyright belongs to me or to Chaos Management, Ltd. And someday our legal heirs will meet and settle their differences in the Court of the Absurd.

vazambam said...

Ah, William, the look on the shaving mug betrays the fact (lurking in the background) that you too have many bills to pay--that makes TWO BILL KILLERS!

William Michaelian said...

Rascal. I figured you’d pick up on that. The odd thing is, the mug on the mug was much younger when I found it. But he is still smiling — almost.

Paul L. Martin said...

Okay, now I know where I got the subconscious influence. If you look at my current entry on the blog, I shot a series of my desk last year. It did not hit me until I looked at this shot of your desk what inspired me to do that. I loved the lighting in this shot, William, and it influenced me to shoot only with natural light in the evening. Adds a nice glow.

Thanks for the inspiration. I think we discussed once how interesting writers' desk are. In fact, I think you blogged about it if I am not mistaken.

William Michaelian said...

I did. In fact, here’s a picture of my work area before we moved to this house. Many years ago, Saroyan ate and drank at that table.

I noticed your desk photo right off. And I do go in for the natural light.