Thursday, September 3

If I'm Permitted to Dream

Three years ago I visited an Independence Day celebration, "Fort Snelling, 1827." Fort Snelling is situated by the international airport in Bloomington, and each July they open the fort with recreationists and actors who enact various scenes, from mundane routines to special speeches and proclamations.

I believe this photo was taken in an officer's quarters, which is why it is so clean of straw and mud and uncluttered with bags and cases. It's a quiet room with a solid wooden desk, a comfortable wooden chair with padded leather, a solid brick floor set right into the ground (no echoing floorboards, no creaking, no carpet to fight), and a single inkwell waiting at one corner of the desktop. Missing would be a desk set, like a desk pad, paper holder, rack for quills, etc.

And me. I could write endlessly in this room. I would throw the windows open by day and write by candles or oil lamps by night. One wall would have a small and essential library: one shelf dedicated to copyediting, technique and usage; one for my most favorite novels and excellent examples of writing; one for my college textbooks on writing and craft, collections of The Paris Interviews and maybe a subscription to Granta or Utne Reader, just to keep abreast of different styles; one shelf would be a random assortment of books on loan, constantly updating, getting replaced. To the side would be my stationery chest, with a more serious collection of paper, inks, nibs, and accoutrement. Here I'd lock up anything that wasn't in use on my desk.

Against the other wall would be a dresser or armoire with as many clothes as I'd need for two weeks. With one collapsible cot and a sleeping bag, I should be quite comfortable in this room alone. And from this room I would reach the world--slowly, unreliably, but I would transmit and receive from this station.

And if I had the Internet... good night.

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