Wednesday, January 13, 2010

At my dethk


Author Tara Moss recently put out a challenge for her writing colleagues and acquaintances to send her jpeg images of their writing spaces, for a series of "I've shown you mine, now you show me yours" blog posts at The Book Post.

My writing desk is waaaaay more famous than I am (yet).

I was fortunate enough to be presented with a unique piece of Australian television history to use as my writing space: the specially-commissioned partnership desk made for Don Cash and Bill Harmon, co-producers of the cult Australian TV soap opera of the 1970s, "Number 96".

The desk is a custom-made Ron Barassi (of North Sydney) design, in rosewood with pine trim, and comes complete with two black leather swivel typing chairs (more suited to big, old typewriters than modern laptop computers - I have to use a more ergonomic chair when writing). The desk divider is a set of built-in drawers with filing cabinet - and is complemented by two rectangular, wooden waste bins. Both the Bill Harmon side of the desk and one of the bins show evidence of many a stubbed-out cigarette, another relic of Australian 70s showbiz. I'm told that the infamous Abigail often perched herself on the corner of the desk to chat to Bill Harmon, which was a tricky manoeuvre because the desktop has no legs and is thus intricately balanced across the divider cabinet.

Writer Nancy Cash, widow of Don Cash, used this desk to write her first novel, "Patterns of the Heart", in the 90s. Nancy gave the desk to me in 2006, when she returned to live in the USA, after living in Australia for about 40 years.

I have yet to prove financially that the desk still has some magic in it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it just might. I certainly have plenty of book outlines in various stages of completion - and two keyboards on the go. So far, though, I also have the dubious honour of being my literary agent's longest-serving client who's never earned her any money.

Hopefully, 2010 is my year.

Bill Harmon at his desk

Bill Harmon, seated at the partnership desk made for Cash Harmon Television for
the production of the cult Australian TV soap opera, "Number 96" (1972-1977).

This photo appeared in Peter Luck's book, "50 Years of Australian TV: An Insider's View, 1956-2006" (New Holland, 2006).

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