As I am now installed in my new house – with Jameson’s desk in pride of place in my office – I’ve finally been able to start to think about why I made this purchase and how it’s influenced my own work.
It’s rather lovely to sit here typing at it, looking out the window as she must have – albeit at a more salubrious view!
What’s really interesting is that my mind seems finally to have caught up and made me realise that the importance I’ve attributed to this bit of furniture actually stems from Jameson herself.
Throughout her novels she talks about furniture and other objects carrying memories and holding elements of previous generations as they are passed down through the family.
This is particularly evident in her war novels, where chairs, tables and even chopping boards are seen as objects of resistance, carrying the memories of the occupied in defiance of the occupier.
In Then We Shall Hear Singing (1942) she writes of an Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakian village in which ‘forefathers spoke through their old chairs and bed-steads’ and ‘a chair, a wooden step, would come suddenly and thankfully to life and begin to tell all it knew’ (31).
Wood, which is more easily marked and tarnished by its owners, is a particularly evocative material for her.
This didn’t really occur to me when I bought the solid-oak table or maybe, unconsciously, it did.
I am certainly not far-gone enough to assert that Jameson is lurking somewhere in my table but the warmth of the wood and its permeability does lend it a certain affective quality, a feeling perhaps that its carrying a bit of her life into mine.