Lucy Honeychurch, protagonist of E. M. Forester’s A Room with a View, arrives in Florence only to be disappointed by the view from her room at the Pensione Bertolini–an insignificant internal courtyard. The eccentric and generous Mr. Emerson offers to exchange rooms with her as his room overlooks the river Arno.
From the inside looking out, it is often the view that we have in front of us that can stimulate or inhibit our desire to interrelate with the world around us.
When looking at photos of Pablo Neruda’s desk facing a huge window with an ocean view, it’s easy to see where he got inspiration for lines like “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”
Then there’s Emily Dickenson’s little writing table in front of her Amherst bedroom window where she wrote cryptic poems on scraps of paper. She writes of a tree outside her window that has emerald boughs when she goes to bed but wakes up to find diamonds of snow.
Flannery O’Connor has the most disturbing desk that, instead of facing the window, faces the back of an armoire. Somewhat masochistic, no?
Roald Dahl, to write children’s books, improvised a desk by resting a plank of wood on the arms of an armchair.
As mentioned in a previous post, I’m working on my Age of Reconfiguration Manual. And its basic philosophy is that of making the best out of what you have already. So I removed the armchair in front of my bedroom window and replaced it with a skinny little desk. Now I have a Desk with a View.
My window reveals the extended style of the Quartiere Coppedé where I live. One building has been “mended” with a plaster that’s whiter than the doves painted on its frieze. Some days I’m lucky and can watch the woman who loves to rearrange her plants or the woman, who, once in a blue moon, works out on her stationary bike. Not Hitchcock’s Rear Window by any means but a chance to maintain contact with the outside world while sitting safely at home working on my Reconfiguration Manual.
My window is stationary which gives me a chance to observe at my own pace.
Arthur Dove, instead, had a talent for visuals in motion as expressed in his Fields of Grain as Seen from Train.
To make important changes, sometimes all you have to do is rearrange the furniture.
(Cynthia Korzekwa © 2019 )