It's 8:20 on a Friday morning. I'm in my 11-year-old's room, which is dark and cool in the morning (and glaringly hot in the afternoon when the sun switches places in the sky). He's at school (one week left in the 6th grade ... eeek!) and so I sit at his desk, which is an IKEA angular job that fits in the corner. The PC's monitor takes up a quarter of the desk space. I really must buy a flat screen for this computer, or get rid of it--when my iBook comes home and when I buy a back up Mac. I'm not complaining; at least I have a computer not so vintage that I can at least get online and work some.
One thing I love about being in this room and working at this computer is the lava lamp that sits to the left of the monitor. In the morning, when I come into this wonderfully dim space, I turn on the computer and I also switch on the lava lamp. As it begins to heat up, the purple globular mass begins to shift, and within an hour and a half transforms from looking like a brain to, well, looking like lava. That's a wonderful moment, when the wax or plastic or whatever it is in side the liquid becomes almost liquid itself.
Who ever has occasion to watch a lava lamp do what it does? I didn't--until my Mac crashed and I was forced to work on this computer again.
On this computer is where I wrote those early drafts of PEN ON FIRE (they're backed up on floppy disk--remember those?). I used to work in this room before Travis was born. Actually, I worked in here after he was born, too, because he slept in our room for a Long Time. Nursing...the family bed(a la Dr. Sears), etc..... I always liked it here.
I asked Travis if, when my Mac comes home, if I can use his desk to work. It will be summer. He'll have little occasion to use the desk. He said he'd rent it to me, then he went on to say that he'd be happy to move into the living room if I wanted his room.
That's doubtful, I said.
Wherever I end up working, the hard disk crash gave me the experience of remembering how I so liked to work in dark spaces facing the wall, how too much sun in a room, and too big a room, can cause my thoughts to become diffuse.
It was an expensive way to learn this simple fact. And to learn that wherever I work, I want a lava lamp with me, too.