Guess there’s some kind of web meme going ’round, all us writer types are supposed to show off our offices. John Hornor Jacobs started it. Yes, THE John Hornor Jacobs – author of the acclaimed SOUTHERN GODS, the soon-to-be-acclaimed THIS DARK EARTH, an upcoming YA trilogy. The man has more book deals than Carters has liver pills. Don’t know what that means, exactly, my mom used to say it, but I took it to mean a lot.
So, the tour. Here’s the whole set-up, desk to the right, my revolutionary bookshelf-cum-treadmill desk dead ahead. Gonna rename that The Writer Gym (soon to be TM) and work out some kind of endorsement deal with some hot-looking hard-body writer, make me a fortune. Hmmm . . . that leaves out Jacobs and Rawson, I don’t really know what Farris looks like. Wait, I’ve got it! Joelle Charbonneau! Let me make a note here . . .
Back by the door, there’s an 18th century map of North America surrounded by my little friends. My late Aunt Mary Ellen and Uncle Bob were tireless collecters of Mexican folk art, and the masks are from their collection. Seem in pre-Columbian days, masks were a big deal in Aztec and other Toltec cultures, so when the missionaries showed up, they tried to piggy back on the trend by incorporating them into their passion plays and what not. The red guy on the right, that’s Old Scratch himself. Not sure what’s up with the rest of them. The map was Bob’s – he loved maps. More fine people, also gone, but who, through their infectious enthusiam for, well, almost everything, were the coolest people a curious young lad could know.
Over on the bookcase, we’ve got Grandpa Bart’s billy club, official Chicago PD issue, and he carried that puppy through the Capone days right up until the early years of the Daley era. I like to think there’s a story behind each ding and dent, and I would have loved to have heard them, but he died when I was in fourth grade. I remember a gentle man with white hair and a soft smile, and sometimes you hear a line or two of Yeats out of him. Lots of hats up on top of the bookcases, too. My dad had the largest head in the western world, but he loved his hats. The ones I can wear without them falling down around my ears, I do.
There’s the Daja, guarding the humidor. And we have my African Writing God, Billy Shakes-His-Speare-at-You -and-Says-Write, Goddamnit.
We got some awards I won for writing about taxes and such like. That’s the day job, and this is also my day-job office, so some of the book piles are a little, well, diverse. There’s the stand-up lamp, where I keep my recording gear for whenever Sabrina Ogden needs an aural fix, and where you’ll also find a stuffed squirrel, a Christmas present from one of my smart-ass nephews to commemorate the day a squirrel tied to kill my by jumping into the front tire of my bike.
A few things you’ll usually find in my office – a bottle of Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, my big-ass Tweety-Bird tea-cup, and my Billy Williams bobble head doll, Sweet Swingin’ Billy, the hottest stick on the team when I was a lad, back when the Cubbies broke my heart in 1969. Broke it for the first time, I should say. They’ve made a habit of it. And, of course, Dante the Hound, my faithful companion through most of the day.
OK, I showed you mine . . .