Sex. Feminism. Lesbian Werewolves.

An Ode to the Smooshed Green Chaise

Posted on Jul 1, 2010 in Writing | 4 comments

This post is inspired by The Rejectionist’s Ode to Her Writing Area.  So here’s my own.

An ex-lover for whom I was offering shelter balked when he saw I owned no couch.  “Where will I sleep?” he asked.  I smiled and shrugged, thinking he would be content with a roof, a floor, and a friend.  “You’re 25 years old and have your own apartment,” he continued, as if that was enough to convince me to grow up.

“A sofa is an anchor,” I replied.

“No, it’s a piece of furniture.  It’s expendable.  It isn’t strapped to your back.”  Adam was always on the track to be an adult long before me.  He saw practicality where I only saw daunting symbols of complacence.  “Where do you sit when you’re not in bed?”

I gestured across the room to a nest made of pillows, blankets, and other assorted fluff.  Suddenly, I felt like a ferret whose den had been excavated.  I screwed up my mouth, embarrassed.

Adam shook his head wearily.  “Come on.  We’re going to IKEA.”

The green chaise was a compromise between a sofa and the ferret nest.  It was small and cheap and cool looking and green.  I love green.  It fit perfectly in the nook in my cheap-ass studio apartment with the million-dollar view.  I immediately started spending hours sitting on it, looking out at the Hollywood Hills, making fun of that cliche Hollywood dream while doing a decent job living it.

I ate dinner on the chaise, watched movies on it, drank wine on it, made love on it, and napped on it.  On hot LA nights, I would open the window and let the breeze flood me.  I watched the 101 empty and fill and stall and move again in daily cycles as organic to the city as the sunrise.  I watched Griffith Park burn and a man jump to his death from an overpass.  I heard the bells of ice cream carts, the clatter of can-collectors’ shopping carts, and loud, shitty Armenian techno music blare from the BMWs that circled the neighborhood.  I watched flocks of wild parrots chatter as they darted around the turrets of my building and thousands of bees swarm around my fire escape in their annual ritual of mass production and mass suicide.

If there was a view to inspire the writer’s mind, this was it.

When I began writing Lunatic Fringe, the chaise was a dream, with great back support and good firmness around all my squishy parts.  I could set cup of tea martini on the armrest, watch Los Angeles glitter below me, and work on my lesbian werewolf opus.

The chaise had ingratiated me to it completely, such that when I moved to the Bay Area, I rented a truck to bring it along.  While I winced at the idea of myself as someone who owned enough “stuff” to warrant renting a truck to move, the chaise was worth it.

Now, its view is worth a bit less, as it sits on the edge of my upstairs loft, overlooking the first floor of my new home, instead of hundreds of square miles of picaresque city.  There are stains from endless tipped wine glasses and dripped ice cream. The wool has worn thin and grayed on the seat.  Like the upholstery equivalent of a porn star who’s starting to sag, it’s got a few good years left to it everywhere but where it matters.  The fluff has been so smooshed by years of sitting and hours of writing that I now need to sit on a pillow and wedge one in the small of my back to save my posture.

I can’t write for very long in it anymore, and as I start on book number 2, I’m considering carving out a new writing spot.

I do still enjoy the chaise for non-writing activities, where I can shift and mold my body to its aging idiosyncrasies rather than make demands of it.  From my perch on the smooshed green chaise, I can watch my partner from across the loft as he works at his desk.  I can see my roommates and friends cuddle and play in the living room below.   It’s no longer a tool for my writing, it’s just another aging part of my personal history.

Green Chaise



Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. J. A. Platt

    I feel a little sad for the Green Chaise now. Maybe it will end like the Velveteen Rabbit and become a real sofa some day.

  2. Em

    Agreed, J.A. Platt.

    I will not look at the IKEA living room display the same way next time.

  3. Casey Lybrand

    Wow! Okay, I have to share quick thoughts:

    It’s a story about growing up. (Like the Velveteen Rabbit.) The view is less spectacular because it is less vast. Now it is more centered on the things you have chosen to focus on. Your life has moved from youthful dreams — with their endless possibilities — to the grounded existence you have developed for yourself. It is a different kind of beautiful view.

    Wonderful post. Like Em and J.A., I hope there is a Writing-Area-Magic Fairy in your not-yet-a-real-sofa’s future. Best of luck with book number two.

  4. Allison

    Thanks for the comments! I hadn’t considered the Velveteen Rabbit allegory, but I love it.

    After reading your comments, I did decide to give the chaise some love by washing its cover for the first time ever.
    I does look a feel a bit perkier, and I feel like a good steward for giving it some TLC.

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