The Puzzle Desk

the puzzleWe were moving across town and were selling our smaller place furnished with the large pieces, deciding we’d move the other things we were keeping ourselves. But as time wore on with all the packing, unpacking, loading the car, and making runs back and forth, I found our good intentions were heading south by the third day.

By the fourth day, I was donating, tossing, or leaving behind items I thought I would never part with. All that attachment, especially to the heavier pieces (not worth hiring a mover for) suddenly seemed not worth the effort. Did I really need this? Was it worth lugging several miles? Would it fit in our new place? What did I ever see in that piece in the first place? What was I thinking keeping it all these years?

I never thought I was capable of being so ruthless, but after several days and nights of sore muscles and lack of sleep, I was bordering on the edge. It was sort of like going through your closet and deciding on the keep and the donate piles. After several hours that emotional attachment started to wear pretty thin. All I kept envisioning was the time and effort involved in lugging all that stuff in and out of our SUV.

Normally I was a very easy-going individual, but several days into the big move, I was transformed into Sybil with multiple personalities. Happy, then depressed one minute and near hysteria the next. I wanted all this done. I wasn’t writing and was going toward the dark side from withdrawal. My schedule was no more. I was eating fast food from the drive-thru on the fly. Breakfast, lunch and dinner went by the wayside. Answering emails and twitter went down the toilet as well.

Where did I leave the normally pleasant, cheerful me? Was it in that keep or donate pile? Finally, on the last day of shutting the emotional door one last time on the old and embracing the new, I walked into our old bedroom and there squeezed into the corner sat my friend, my puzzle desk. It was the desk where I wrote my first mystery, The Puzzle.

(That mystery took place in Highlands, NC. Samantha’s log home really was mine, on the side of a mountain, the back porch elevated on telephone poles. And that ice storm, a frightening experience, really took place, our car covered in ice, the whole nice yards. I will never forget it. And yes, we used to wash our car under Bridal Veil Falls too. The Franklin auction held many memories, as well as inching along that curvy, dangerous road on the way from Franklin on many a foggy night, where we held our breath, as we drove, knowing that gorge was down there in the dark to our right. And Mirror Lake? Our favorite spot to feed the geese.) 

So needless to say, that particular Puzzle desk held a special place in my heart as I drew upon memories that inspired me. It was an old desk with multiple secret compartments. After a while, I thought I’d found them all, but I always managed to find another when I swore there were no more to be discovered. Just like in my mystery, The Puzzle, another secret was revealed. It was where I sat hour after hour: happy, sad, frustrated, brain blocked, pounding out clues and dialogue. I stood there just staring at it, but then decided that since I had moved on to other mysteries in the series and embraced new horizons, that maybe my desk should too. Why not let someone else discover and unlock all those secrets just waiting to be revealed?

Besides, it was very, very heavy…

…It was day number eleven (It took us longer that we figured) of our big move and the last of what we were taking with us was finally at our new house. We were on our way back from the store, when we decided to stop at the old place for one last look. I walked in and stopped dead in my tracks. Staring at me was The Puzzle desk. I looked at my husband and sighed deeply…

He knew he was in trouble when I asked, “Can we make just one more trip?”

Post Script:

We found an additional surprise puzzle piece when we went to lift (lug) it into the back of our SUV. The desk magically slid apart and separated into two large pieces, which made it not the heavy piece we originally thought to be! What a surprise! We stood there gaping and then laughed. Another puzzle piece was discovered, which cemented the deal to take it with us. Every time I pass that desk to this day I smile, glad I brought my friend with me. Who knows there might be another surprise lurking somewhere in this old gal.

Chase your dreams. And remember, everyday is a blessing! Make the most of it!

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21 Responses to The Puzzle Desk

  1. Terri says:

    Having gone through a major home move myself, I can relate! I’m so glad you kept the puzzle desk and hope you write many more great books with it’s help. Terri

  2. Krystal Wade says:

    WOW. That’s a long time to move stuff. And I’m glad you kept your desk. Holding onto that stuff is important. 🙂

  3. Judy Trudel says:

    Hi Peggy,
    I enjoyed your story! I have found that it’s actually easier to move across the country than just move a short distance. For instance, when you know you are moving to another state, you have one shot to load up the truck, versus, when you are moving within a relatively short distance, you think, “Well, I’ll just move these couple of things in my car so the movers won’t break them…….”. Haha! That always, always turns into to a hundred “little” trips and thus, the invariable meltdown occurs! Best of luck!

  4. Pat McKearn says:

    I was touched by the sentiments of letting go of “stuff” when we realize that is not what defines one’s life. ….An awareness that sifts out what is pertinent and meaningful. Peggy, I am happy you chose not to leave your desk behind. I envision the puzzle desk and all the energy expended there! That is something to hold onto. Pat

  5. Dorothy K. says:

    Peggy, I think we all have similar feelings when transitioning our lives. I had lived in my family home for 60 years before I bought a beautiful new home in Paramus. I was thrilled by the adventure. Since then I sold that house, and bought an even more beautiful house in Henderson, Nevada. In my sleep, I only dream of my original home.
    We move on with our lives, but there are certain things and feelings that always stay with us.

    • Dorothy, I guess I just wasn’t ready to move on from that desk. It has served me well through many a sleepless night when writing my book. Thank you for sharing your own memories and sentiments.

  6. Pat says:

    Peggy, this last blog was just wonderful, especially this time of the year when we are all slobbering with sentiment…the analogy of “letting go of the desk” and moving onto the next novel was superb….you just never stop writing, do you? Oh, hell, it is just a little more space taken up in the new home and a lot of memories stored….Sometimes I look around my own home and yes, it is filled, but the quality of what it is full of is immeasurable wealth. The Puzzle desk has served you well….now you can take care of it, with it’s inspiration and dark secret places……….it belongs with you.

    • Pat, I couldn’t have expressed it better. I hadn’t realized how attached I had become until it was time to part. There is always room for something that has that much sentiment attached to it.

  7. Linda Appleton says:

    “Memories, pressed between the pages of our lives,” what a great story, thanks for sharing! The ‘Puzzle Desk’ has not finished serving its purpose in your life, reason you still possess it!! Happy inspirational writing!

    • Linda, You’re right, I guess the two of us are not finished we each other yet. There are many more inspirational compartments to discover that have yet to be revealed. I think we both have a possession issue with each other that is mutual. Thank you for writing.

  8. romayne says:

    We have made many moves over the years. Each having their own set of circumstances. Each requiring decisions of what to leave behind, what to give away and what to take. Some of the decisions were really difficult to make. We get so attached to so many “things.” There is most likely a story behind almost everything we have. As with your “puzzle desk” there are always the “I cannot leave this behind” that must stay with us no matter where we decide to move to. Enjoyed your latest post and looking forward to your next Samantha journey.

    • Romayne, I’ve learned that getting attached to “stuff” is not necessarily a bad thing. There is some “stuff” that is meant to stay with you, no matter what. Emotional attachments are a “good” thing and shouldn’t be ignored. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I’m delighted you enjoyed the post.

  9. Pradeepa says:

    Went through with the same not too long ago. There were couple of things couldn’t leave behind, first thought lets donate but couldn’t as your “Puzzle desk”. It is amazing to see how much we attached. I am so glad you kept “The Puzzle desk”.

  10. Norah Wilson says:

    Oh, Peggy, I enjoyed reading that post! I know what you mean about the sentimental attachment wearing thin the further into a move you get. 🙂 When I read that you’d decided to leave the puzzle desk for someone else to discover its wonderful secrets, I was thinking you are so much more enlightened than me. Then, when I read you went back for a last look and reconsidered, I cheered! Yes!!!

    • Norah, I have found that one of the privileges of being a woman is her right to change her mind and change it I did! We found an additional surprise puzzle piece when we went to lift it into the back of our SUV. The desk magically slid apart and separated into two lighter pieces, which made it not the heavy piece it was originally thought to be! What a surprise! Another puzzle piece discovered!

  11. Norah Wilson says:

    Oh, wow!!! This table definitely deserves to go into a mystery novel. It’s a character in and of itself.

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