Unexpected source of inspiration

So, the week after Christmas, this random box shows up from Illinois. While my family is from Illinois, I don’t know anyone there currently. It took opening the box and taking out the contents to remember that a family member said they’d bought my gift but it wouldn’t arrive until after the 25th. Okay, so this has to be it, right? Yeah, I texted them just to make sure.


Out came this interesting desk set. Preliminary research shows it was possibly made in the 1940’s or 1950’s. The set contains and inkwell with lid, stationary stand and ink blotter (minus paper). I’m still digging for details. The writer in me immediately started asking questions. What’s it made of? Who owned it first? Did they use it for personal correspondence or business letters? What type of ink did they use? What type of writing instrument? I tested a section of the metal to make sure my metal cleaner wouldn’t completely strip the finish. It didn’t, so I continued cleaning.


The hubby always wonders why I want something old as opposed to buying completely new. When it comes to household items and furniture, first its because the craftsmanship is usually better on the older items. Second, my imagination goes wild trying to figure out the history of the piece. He’s more pragmatic and usually deflates that initial burst of “OOOH, what’s your story”. The burst doesn’t last long though. I could get lost for HOURS in a true antique store. Oh, the stories pouring off those now homeless items. It’s a good thing I’m not rich and/or don’t own a home. I would have a room dedicated to items found on my forages. Which I have to admit I have to limit. It’s the same as taking me to an animal shelter. I want to give them all a home.

The immediate effect the gift had was forcing me to clean off my desk. First, I need to get back into a regular nightly writing routine. Second, the poor desk has become a catchall. Third, my poor kittehs have missed sleeping in their beds. Almost immediately, the little one jumped back into his bed and has used it regularly since I put it back in its “spot”.

Charlie back on the desk in his bed.

Mostly, it helped get me out of the holiday frame of mind and get my imagination stirring again toward writing. The timing was perfect. Now to find the perfect stationary to put in the stand.

Are there any items you’ve received or seen that just ignited a story in your mind? Have any of them turned into a novel?

Have a great weekend.



8 thoughts on “Unexpected source of inspiration

  1. Your present is lovely. What a treasure. Anyplace you find your inspiration is great. I find inspiration in the good old Houston Chronicle, among others. I cut out information and make files with great tidbits of information. Great good luck, my friend.

    1. Thanks J.D. I like the newspaper idea. I just bought a 1942 issue of Life. Love looking at the advertisements and the photo captions. Interesting to see what’s changed and what hasn’t over the decades.

  2. This is a really great post! I would totally flip if I opened a box and found those inside. My hubby helped his brother clean out an old house once to get it ready for new tenants. He found this box with all these cans and stuff and in the bottom was this old leather pocket bible from the late 1800s. There were notes, pieces of hair, ribbons, four leaf clovers. The owner was from Ireland. I was actually able to find her name on the ship’s registry list showing when she arrived in New York. She was 16 and traveled alone with this bible her grand-mother gave her. It is one of my most treasured pieces.

    1. Thanks! Finds like yours are unbelievable. I haven’t been lucky enough to find anything like that yet. I found my paternal great-grandparents entry record at Ellis Island. Fascinating to see what questions they asked the immigrants upon arrival. Thanks for stopping by Jenny.

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