Prompts

edgeworthAs I’ve organized my office to my liking over the last year, I’ve surrounded myself with books, manuscripts, vinyl record albums, and the paraphernalia and ephemera of my life. I have things from long ago (my graduation tassel from high school) and from the recent past (rocks from my favorite beach in Maine). I have stand-ins for objects that would be far more evocative if they were the real thing–an Edgeworth tobacco tin (the brand my grandfather smoked)–and objects that become more real every time I pick them up a time-worn photograph of my mother when she was young, beautiful, and the world, as they say, was her oyster.

My desk is crowded, and I could clear it up, but I like the prompts that surround me. In no particular order they include:

  • A statuette of Socrates that has been on my desk since college
  • Three of those beach rocks, each just a bit too large to fit in the palm of my hand
  • A toy-sized Louisville Slugger
  • A replica of a .50 caliber bullet, the same one my father would have fired from a B-24 during WW2
  • A replica of my father’s 13th Air Force patch
  • Two harmonicas, neither of them played well since high school
  • A matchbox-sized mobile home
  • A matchbox-sized Pontiac Fiero
  • A hockey puck
  • A stack of photographs
  • A stack of baseball cards, all featuring Red Sox players
  • A stack of baseball ticket stubs
  • A Christmas snow globe that no longer works
  • Two small plastic army men
  • A postcard from the Hemingway House, Hemingway petting a cat
  • A stack of letters from friends, written when friends wrote letters
  • A picture of my son’s 6th birthday
  • An airline ticket stub that took me from New Orleans back to Boston
  • The dust jacket from Philip Roth’s The Professor of Desire, disembodied from the book
  • A stack of five running logs from the five years I was an active runner in my 30s and 40s
  • A button I wore to watch my high school’s hockey team win the state championship in 1976
  • A piece of hardwood that someone whittled, maybe even me
  • A wedding picture, my wife looking beautiful and me looking goofily happy

I have many more within arm’s reach, but these are a good start. I’ve had a productive year of daily writing, and I haven’t used any of these yet.

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