Creative Chairs

I picked up six free chairs the other day. Amazing, what the back of a Toyota Matrix can hold, when the kids aren’t in. Chairs have been a burr in this household for a number of years, and we’ve cycled through a number of incarnations of castoffs, supplemented with a  great deal of glue. A shocking number have ended up permanently relegated to the basement. But these chairs, I believe, will be here to stay for some time. They’re hard-used, fully broken with the kind of grime around the edge that fits in here, from hands like ours, dirty and calloused and into all kinds of things.

I took the smallest chair, the one the giver (also a writer) preferred, and set it at my desk. The chair’s well-made, well-used, and infinitely appreciated by me. Not to mention, I didn’t have to outlay any cash.

Sweeping under the kitchen table tonight, I remembered being a teenager and wandering through the adult section of the public library. I found all kinds of gems in those stacks, but a particular one was Salinger’s Nine Stories, stories I’ve read over, and over, through so many phases of my life. These chairs reminded me of De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period, a koan of a story (aren’t these all?) ending with a mystical experience involving a mannikin. At the story’s end, in exasperation perhaps, the main character takes a chair up to his room. The house’s owners are Japanese, and the bedroom lacks a chair. I’m reminded of this story at times, when I can’t seem to get it together to just bring a chair up to a room, to just do an apparently simple thing.

I remind myself: do the simple thing. The harder things are hard enough. Early this morning, while the creamy moon was sailing over the house and the children were still sleeping, I was at my desk with my pages and pages of sentences. I thought, This is hard, but do something harder, write what I’d least expect, and I leaned over the page.

… the letters seemed to write themselves. It may have had something to do with the fact that, before sitting down to write, I’d brought a chair up from downstairs.

–– J. D. Salinger

About Brett Ann Stanciu

A writer and sugarmaker, Brett Ann lives with her two daughters in stony soil Vermont. Her novel HIDDEN VIEW was published by Green Writers Press in the fall of 2015. Let my writing speak for itself.
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