When I bought my new computer this summer I had already made the decision to get a desktop. Not a laptop. And for a simple reason. I felt it important for me to go the computer rather than to have the computer follow me. Everywhere. Anywhere. I knew I needed restraint.
This is only the second "apartment complex" I've lived in and it's actually nice. Very roomy with tons of closet and storage space. And the bedroom is large. So that's where I connected the computer. I could have put it in the living room, but it had enough technology already.
I purchased the solid maple, Drexel desk at a local flea market for $65.00. The folding teak chair hailed from the same place and has a mate. They were around $50.00 each. And very, very comfortable.
After moving too many times in my life, I now try to keep things simple. Above the desk is one of my oil paintings of Lake Michigan. It is opposite my bed so I see it the first thing when I wake up. I keep the desk uncluttered. It has a quote by Thoreau I've had for ages.... the one about "advancing confidently in the direction of his dreams," and a short speech from one of my past students when I was nominated as one of the school's "most inspirational teachers of the year." I still hope that I can inspire through art and composition.
Here's the irony: I once inspired this student...now she inspires me!
I spent most of my life in the Midwest where Lake Michigan was a constant companion. I lived thirteen years in a small artist's community off its shores. I miss it dearly. It, too, was an important inspiration in my life.
The oil painting of lilacs was the first major piece of art I acquired. I love lilacs and when I first saw it I stopped dead in my tracks. My head spun. I became friends with the artist and sometimes worked in his studio on weekends.
Eventually, he sub-leased studio space to me and that's when I quit education to pursue a life in art. I commissioned this portrait in oils the summer before I made the plunge. I had just returned from the beach... sun burnt and happy in my favorite chambray shirt... He is another person who inspired me.
My bed is opposite the computer, easy access to flop on if I need to think . . . or contemplate. The cotton blanket was actually made . . . in the USA!
The old stackable bookcase cost me $250.00 ages ago. I just saw one at an antique market for .... $1,500.00!!! One regret I have in life is getting rid of books. But they are so very difficult to move and to transport. I could easily fill dozens of bookcases like this with works I have read . . . but I've whittled it down to classics, etc. Friends I have to have nearby. Friends like Hemingway and Steinbeck and Dickens who still inspire me . . .
The two wooden carvings on the top are Makonde carvings I purchased when I was in Africa as a college student. The rabbit is by Warner Williams and I have several more of his works. (a future blog). The green vase is from England. Graduation tassels hang from the knobs and a teddy bear from my sister keeps vigil.
I love this room because it is flooded with afternoon sunshine. I have used bird silhouettes on my windows for years. They inspire the glass to come alive. The air conditioning units outside the window are amazingly quiet. My refrigerator makes more noise. But I don't mind because when I need inspiration, I step away from the computer to gaze outside . . .
. . . it's a small wood, but very wild and filled with all kinds of wildlife from deer to fox to hawks. Nature is both sooting and inspirational.
This old, original oil painting hangs above my bed. It is bittersweet. I purchased it for a measly $100.00 from a second-hand furniture shop that obviously dealt with belongings from foreclosed homes. I had lost my business and my own home when I acquired it . . . It was a sacrifice to pay the price. But I felt a real compulsion to give it a home. I know it is worth much, much more than what I payed for it.
I love this painting because it reminds me of kindness. In many ways, it is not mine. It is still the owner's, wherever he or she may be. I'm keeping it "safe." And in these horrible economic times when so many people have been misplaced, when so many people have lost everything, including me, it gives me purpose. It inspires me to HOPE that the original owners are okay. And safe. And that they have escaped the economic concentration camp of despair.
Opposite the bookcase is my small wing-back, now-out-of-American- business "Sam Hill" chair. It accommodates my "short" legs and I can throw them on the bed to be even more comfortable as I look out the window. The wool-plaid throw is from Windermere, England--home of Wordsworth. I bought it when I visited as a college student.
The framed poster of native Americans is my pride and joy. As a child, "Indians" were both my role models and inspiration (a blog yet-to-come). On the bottom shelf of the small table that I refinished aeons ago, is a toy VW Beetle, orange. It is the car that I drove while in college and as first-year teacher.
I thought this would be an easy and fun blog to post. But it wasn't. It made me realize the important, unconscious inspirations around me. But . . . that is why OS . . . is such an inspiration . . .