I was clearing the contents of my late mother’s bungalow years ago, wondering what on earth I was going to do with her old writing desk and chair. She was devoted to these ancient relics, and was determined that they should stay in the family after her death. She wanted me to have them, and said they would bring me luck. She swore she would come back to haunt me if I got rid of them. Being vaguely superstitious, and also an obedient daughter, I honoured her request, and when the auctioneer came to assess the value of all her old furniture, I hadn’t the heart to let him take away what he deemed to be the most valuable items, her desk and chair.
She had acquired the solid old carved oak writing desk many years ago, together with a similar baronial chair, from an auction held in an old manor house owned by a deceased famous writer. They occupied pride of place in our sitting room. As a teenager, I remember sitting at the desk doing my homework, and it was where I taught myself to type on the old Remington typewriter my mother had acquired from the same auction.
I knew I had to find a place for them somewhere in my house, as neither of my children wanted them. They didn’t suit my modern house, so I decided to cover them with old sheets and blankets and store them in my garage.
After I retired, I started to write poetry and silly short stories. I wasn’t very good, but it helped to pass the time. One day I decided to convert the back end of my double length garage into a study. It made sense to furnish it with the desk and chair, as there were dark wood beams on the ceiling. The first time I sat at the desk to write, suddenly my short story developed into a novel.
“And that was when you wrote your first novel?” asked Mike Anderson, the TV interviewer.
“Yes,” I replied. “And I have sat there to write every novel since. Suddenly I found creative inspiration coming from somewhere. But only when I sat at that desk, and in that chair.”
“So your mother was right,” said Mike. “The desk and chair did bring you luck, and now you have written your fifth best seller, will you ever write anywhere else?”
A helium.com assignment – with a fictional ending.
Maybe I should start using my mother’s old desk and chair again!