Monday, August 1, 2011

Writer's Notebook: A Boy's Desk

by Julia Buckley
Capturing a picture of any corner of my son's desk is like creating a photostory for an I-SPY book. What you see here is a writing surface significantly de-junked by a mother, but still filled with things of interest for a boy.

For a variety of reasons, looking at people's things is interesting (at least I think so). But it also provides insights that might be used in writing and characterization.

Since my son and I just cleaned his desk, let me offer you, writers and readers alike, a glimpse into a boy's desk and surrounding area. This photo shoot was located in what used to be called the playroom, but is now called the game room, since my sons have graduated from action guys to video games.

Graham is a fan of the WIMPY KID books, as you can see on his side shelf. The other portion of the shelf belongs to his older brother; I had photographed that, too, only to notice in the photo that one of Ian's friends had written something obscene on the spine of his yearbook. Ian thinks this is funny, but I wasn't so sure that blog readers would be amused, so we'll skip that portion of the shelf tour. :)

Graham's top desk shelf is an eclectic mix of things. Some old friends from children's literature (Toot and Puddle, Skippyjohn Jones), as well as wall art that includes a Seurat knock-off filled with Simpsons characters and a poster of the BlackHawks 2010 Stanley Cup-winning team. A dinosaur guards his safe, which contains his rosary. :) There's an Action Bible (a gift from friends) and various boy-friendly books, including a photo album of his First Communion. He is crying in every photo because he said his tie was too tight (it really wasn't, but he's never been a lover of ties).

These animal erasers are popular with the grade school crowd these days. They are expensive, but Graham saves up or trades with friends.

Robot violence is always juxtaposed with friendly stuffed creatures from the past.

Various dangling monkeys, accumulated from years of visiting Brookfield Zoo, hang around the room.

The cat is real. That's Mr. Mulliner, and he sits on top of the television for most of the day, I assume because it is so warm. The boys have been giving the set a real workout this summer in their air-conditioned video game haven (the only down sides are their mother's regular speeches about the real world), and Mulliner likes to be a part of it.

This might be the last year that Graham still loves Legos, and then I fear a large part of his boyhood (and my motherhood) will be gone forever. Here is one of his many creations.

Action guys and animals from many birthdays are still allowed desk space, although now they are menaced by a dragon.

This sign, which I taped on our door during the school year so that Ian would remember things after I had gone to work, somehow got stuck on their game room wall instead of finding its way into the garbage. It's a reminder, during serene summer, of the chaos of the school year.

I thought these items represented three of interests of both of my sons: the two-headed dragon is an homage to folklore and mythology. The tank represents their love of (fictionalized) warfare. And the graphic novel is a tribute to their newest obsession: the zombie flick THE WALKING DEAD, which airs again on AMC in the fall.

This is actually only a portion of what can be found in this boys' space, but I just realized that this has gotten rather long!

Enjoy the tour, either for nostalgia's sake or as a creative writing prompt.


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Looks like you dusted, too, Julia. Good mom! ;)

Julia Buckley said...

I dusted PARTS of the room. :)

The English Teacher said...

Yes, I also noticed that it was remarkably clean...... :)

Fun photos.

Jeri Westerson said...

Looks remarkably like my desk...only cleaner. (I may have more toys)

Julia Buckley said...

Wow. It's not actually that clean; I guess I picked good angles. My son would laugh if he read this.


Jeri, your desk sounds fun.