a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

End Table

 Every night when I sit on the couch with the dogs, I am facing the end table next to the couch where my husband sits.  The end table is a kind of curio cabinet with a glass shelf inside.  It is distressed black wood and made to look like windows with divided panes on all four sides, with a door on the front. 

It used to belong to my mother-in-law.  It used to hold a smattering of ceramic decorations, including her trio of striped vases.  I always liked that end table.  I always liked those vases. 

Now, it sits in our house, instead of hers.  Now, it holds my collection of William Saroyan books and a selection of my husband’s old psychology texts.  Now, the striped vases provide a splash of color amongst the faded cloth of old book covers.  

Now, it also holds memories.  Every night, when I sit on the couch with the dogs and face that end table, I am reminded of the quiet conversations I had with my mother-in-law in the weeks before she died.  The respite week she spent at the hospice center before returning home was not a highlight in her life, I am sure.  However, the moments I spent with her there were some of the only moments I spent alone with her.  They are moments I treasure.  Moments I am happy to be reminded of as I sit on the couch with the dogs tonight.  


  1. I like that you told all the details, what the table held, & what it now holds, making it your own, but keeping part of your mother in law there too. It's sweetly written, especially that you included the looking at it every night, remembering.

  2. Really a nice piece, a beautiful memory. I loved the description you gave of the end table how it used to be and how it is now. I also really liked your first and last sentences and how they connected.

  3. This is beautiful and truly heartfelt--a lovely piece. This part--I always liked that end table. I always liked those vases.--is my favorite. Something about those 2 lines pulls at me and somehow hinted at what I was about to read.

    I must also admit to falling in love (with a tinge of envy) with the end table and the vases. It's exactly the sort of thing I'd choose for our space if I could find it.

  4. As my husband and I are in the midst of seeing his father's house divided amongst his siblings, it is these kinds of memories and their attachments that are the most important. Should everything disintegrate tomorrow, it will be important to remember, regardless of anything tangible. Nicely written.