Now that I’ve settled on calling the sequel, The Nancy Who Drew the Way Home, I started to think about what the concept of home means to me now. In the book it’s a metaphor for soul consciousness. It took place thirty years ago, and it’s where the story ends, in 1987.
1987 was a long time ago! The story is about how and why I became I an artist, and what happened then. In the years since then, as well as entering into motherhood, I became a writer. I live with memories of what “home” meant when I was growing up, and what it meant when I was married and raising a child of my own. Now, after spending the better part of two decades writing about the long ago past, it feels refreshing to look around me and draw and describe particular objects that represent “home.”
The first that came to mind is the secretary desk that’s followed me about for the last 40 years. It’s where you’ll find me first thing in the morning with coffee, and last place at night with tea. I will be seated on an old chair with a new cushion at this beat-up secretary desk made of yew wood.
The glass doors of the bookcase are gone. The back has fallen off too. It lies behind, gathering dust on the floor against the wall. From this drawing you can’t see the nicks or the missing pieces of molding, but it makes no difference to my writing or typing, sketching or scribbling, reading or dreaming, streaming movies or music, sometimes eating, texting, or talking on the phone.
The drawers under the drop-leaf hold treasures from the past. The framed photos on the top shelf of the child who grew up are from the past too. And in between are books and staplers and paper and envelopes and a multitude of writing instruments lounging about in their canisters. Because I’ll always remember the day long ago when the desk was new and shiny and I sat before it with a tear-stained map trying to figure out a route to the coast where I could drive my car off a cliff into the sea. And then a week after that when I sat down to write out a dream that made me realize I knew things inside. But the only way I’d ever find out what that knowledge was, was through writing or drawing. So I always made sure I had plenty of paper and the tools to mark it up with. And though I found other desks and easels for drawing and painting, the writing has mostly been done here, at this very desk that has witnessed it all.
Yew wood. Because I would. I would live and express and describe and perceive and wonder and despair, and then not despair. And wonder and express some more. Seated at this silent, stable pile of wood first seen gleaming fresh and new under a spotlight at Harrods.