The largest room in my house is the master bedroom. It really could be divided into an office and a bedroom. There is a bay window area that is home to a desk that is perpetually covered in old family photos waiting for a turn in the scanner, snail mail and Blue Ray discs of Firefly, Downton Abbey and Poldark. I try to write at the desk but I am too easily distracted.
There is another room in the house that could be classified as a formal living room. If you come into the foyer from outside, you would make an immediate left into a small room that is home to an old, reupholstered couch, two wing chairs liberated from a Smithfield, Virginia antique store, and a pair of bookcases that I built not long after my wife and I moved in here in the late 1990’s. She is gone but, I am happy to say, the bookcases remain. This room was a clean slate in the post divorce world order.
Furnishings in this room were either made by me, reupholstered or purchased after the departure of my ex. The book cases are filled with books collected over the years as well as old black and white photos from my family. Two of my favorites are a photo of my maternal grandfather in his FDNY Captain’s uniform with lioness (circa 1950’s) and the hero shot of my dad as a Naval Aviator crouching on the wing of a Grumman F-9 Cougar on the deck of the USS Intrepid in the late 1950’s. The shelves also serve as sanctuary to my collection of military challenge coins, a lug nut from Greg Biffle’s #16 car from NASCAR’s Pennsylvania 500 in 2012 (a memento of a crazy weekend with my two brothers) and a Lego model of Serenity (Captain Mal Reynold’s ship). It is also home to my great uncle’s early 1960’s Tonka Suburban Pumper, a toy that my siblings and I would play with while visiting his ancient brownstone in Brooklyn. I have surrounded myself here with things that are of little value to anyone, but are priceless to me
It is in this room where I seem to be able to write despite its central location and lack of doors to the foyer or the empty dining room next to it. It is the spot where my two twenty something sons will toss their bags, the day’s mail or college textbooks on the coffee table and start chatting about their day. Despite this room’s ability to collect chaos, it is the room where I can get my thoughts together and sometimes convey those thoughts onto the screen of my laptop.
I guess I find the calm of writing in the room that is the storm of my house.