One of the great things about living in an old Queenslander is all of the space under the house for storing stuff. One of the worst things… is all of the space under the house for storing stuff. I've been stashing crap under our place for nearly 20 years now and I finally got tired of it.
Had a couple of guys come around today with pickup and trailer to cart away two decades worth of precious memories and, you know, crap. One of the things which is going is my old desk. It was probably the hardest of all to give up. I commissioned it, like an actual patron of the arts or something, from a Russian guy called Igor who used to sell his roughhewn furniture at Bondi markets.
I wrote Leviathan at this desk, and a couple of Quarterly Essays, all of the original Axis of Time novels, and the first couple of Disappearance volumes, too. It has a lot of memories and it hurts to let them go.
But neither of the kids were interested in having the desk and I haven't worked at it in well over ten years. Maybe it's because I paid Igor to make it for me that I feel an attachment to it that I don't feel to my previous workspaces.
I can't even remember the desk at which I wrote Felafel. It was just some table in a sharehouse in Darlinghurst. I did a lot of the research for Leviathan while I was living at Bondi, and before Igor made me this desk I was working on a big slab of wood laid across a couple of stainless steel trestles. I can still picture it vividly in my memory, but I don't recall what happened to it, and I don't have any particularly fond feelings for it.
That was in my bachelor pad era, and I'm pretty sure Jane refused to have it in the apartment we first lived in together – the apartment where Igor’s desk first lived with us. My previous dodgy set up was a bit of an aircraft carrier, and I don't know that it would’ve even fit.
My current desk is built in. I won't be taking it with me if and when we leave this place either. Maybe at that point I will regret giving away my old mate here, but that's the problem isn't it? Hanging on to stuff for decades, storing them under house until they’re completely covered in cobwebs and inches of dust, all on the off chance that you might want to use them in some faraway future. Better that it go to a home where I know it has a purpose and will be appreciated every day.
Goodbye, old mate.