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The Writing Couch
By Meredith Greene
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Rated "G" by the Author.
A short piece about my great uncle's sailing couch.
Where do you write?
For me, it is a wide, antique, wooden couch which once belonged to my great-uncle. I do not know exactly when it was made but taking in all the previous owners, it must be well over 90 years ago. In spite of its age, it is very comfortable for sitting and napping alike, which a couch should be if it possibly can.
It was given to my husband and I just after we arrived back from our honeymoon; when we walked through the door of our apartment, it was sitting there with all our wedding gifts piled on top. Having no couch of our own, we were delighted with the unexpected surprise. The cushions, being well-used and rather garish in material, were covered over with a fluffy spare feather-bed and a linen duvet. Though it is most favored by myself, my man finds himself napping on it once in awhile. If any in the family is feeling ill they snuggle into it's fluffy depths for comfort.
Besides it's appeal as a pleasant piece of furniture, this couch is an unusual source of creative inspiration. This is no common bit of wood and cloth in my living room but a stalwart sailor, both experienced and sage. My great uncle was a sailing enthusiast and lived in Hawaii and Australia, sometimes simultaneously. The open sea was to him more home than anyplace else, especially in his latter years. He was so partial to this couch that he maneuvered it into the hull of his 40-foot yacht and took it with him each time he embarked; with it tagging along, he stopping at many of the ports most folks only can read about. Sailing along with the sunburnt, white-haired adventurer, this couch of mine has been around the globe four times in all. Often my great uncle would wrestle it up onto the deck under the shade of a looped length of sail just so he could nap in comfort. Thusly, the couch sat in the air of many exotic places, soaking in salty air and spices, fresh breezes and humid, fragrant zephyrs.
I was understandably pleased to get this piece of furniture from my cousins (now gown with couches of their own) and have cared for it well; it has graced the living room of every apartment we've lived in as well as our house. My children babbled and played on it as babies, used it for stability as they toddled around on uncertain legs and jumped off it as they grew older. Now we crowd onto it to watch a documentary or use it as a 'parliament bench' when having our family meetings.
During the day, once all my work is mostly done (snickering at 'done') I take up my trusty laptop and sink into the deep depths of the couch, with a sigh. Just sitting on it makes one reflect upon the scenes it has witnessed; the places I hear of or read about are all the more real knowing the couch has actually been there. I do not know why or how to explain it but when I am seated upon this particular couch, reclined back and typing away, ideas flow far better and with more literary flavor than in any other place I have ever written. A couch which inspires is rare indeed and it shall be in our family a good, long while. Whichever of our children whom marries and leaves our home first will most likely get the couch, if I can be persuaded to part with it.
Until then, back to typing.
Site: Belator Books
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