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Voice: Glad she's not famous, because no one should see her home

July 27, 2001

One of my favorite topics to read about, or watch on TV, is documentaries about the homes of famous writers.

This gives me strange comfort. I am glad that I will never be famous, for I would hate for my crowded, cluttered apartment to be put on display for all the world to see.

Actually, the apartment is rented, and when I go on to glory, it will be emptied of the clutter, someone else will move in and hopefully that person won't be famous, either. This just isn't a cubby hole to display to an adoring public.

All of my writing is done in my ejector chair, with my feet elevated so that they won't swell and burst open again. My "desk" is a clipboard.

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If I were famous, maybe the chair and cupboard could be preserved as my memorial. No — the chair isn't even mine: it's on loan. So all that's left is the clipboard.

There will be no grave, no memorial. My cold, gray ashes will be consigned to the winds. (I hate to pollute the air, but cremation is all I can afford. I am claustrophobic and just can't bear to think my ashes would be confined in a funeral urn.) I hope I'll not cause anyone to have an allergy attack … I would hate to be something to sneeze at.

The only things I'll leave behind is my battered menagerie of thrift shop stuffed animals, my mother's wedding ring, my grandmother's sampler, gobs of junk jewelry, battered books, and clothes in all sizes from 5 to 22.

So it's very fortunate that I am not famous, and no one will remember me (to her than my family and a few personal friends) after I am gone.

The one thing I wish could be preserved is the collection of thousands of poems, essays, short-short stories I've written but which have never been submitted for publication. But I already know my husband will take them to the county dump to be burned two minutes after I die. If he can wait that long. Maybe my scrapbooks, prepared for my daughter and grand daughter, will escape the holocaust.

MERRY HARRIS

El Centro

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