Monday, April 27, 2009

My Father’s Writing Chair

Doesn’t look like much, does it?

But in this chair, my father wrote motion picture scripts, scores of books, radio dramas, filmstrip scripts, magazine articles, and many other writing projects.

He was a pioneer, really, in the production and distribution of Christian films, starting ministries including Gospel Films, Ken Anderson Films, International films, and InterComm.

I, on the other hand, grew up as a reluctant reader. Once I fully understood why this had been, and at the age of 55, I felt directed to begin writing action-adventures and mysteries that I would have enjoyed as a child. My focus was on reluctant reader boys, but I knew, from my own film production and video background, that a good story is a good story. It’ll be enjoyed by everyone, and that’s what I’ve seen with my books.

We lost him, at the age of 88, three years ago last month.

So what’s the significance of his old chair?

I hadn’t thought much about it for a while until I spent endless hours, sitting in it from this past Tuesday night, through Sunday night. That’s because a publisher has shown interest in one of my unpublished manuscripts. The problems were that my story took place in South Carolina and a background character was Blackbeard the pirate.

Why is that a problem you ask.

This publisher wanted the story set in Louisiana, and that meant I had to find a new pirate. The most famous of those, in the New Orleans area, was Jean Lafitte. Thus the need for all those hours, sitting in my father’s old writing chair, in order to complete the revision.

It was as I neared completion of the project, on Sunday night, that I was struck, in a powerful way, with thoughts of my father’s creativity. I wondered how he would have handled a project such as this. And I was reassured that the task would have been completed.

Like I said, the chair isn’t much to look at. It took a few screws to repair the broken back. Vinyl on the corners of the armrests has come apart. I often catch my sweaters on it in the winter. The chair pad cover has worn thin, partially revealing a sponge rubber pad, and I wonder how long the base will hold up, since it lists to one side now.

But one thing is for sure, I have no plans to retire that chair any time soon, because now…it’s my writing chair.

Max Elliot Anderson


Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

It is a wonderful connection to your father and you are lucky to have it. My daughter now has my father's old writing desk.He died at the age of 31 but wrote plays, articles,lyrics, etc. The desk was the unfinished variety purchased when he was still in school. Of course it was finished long ago and now sports a walnut stain and some digs and gouges from when my kids were young. Many memories live in a piece of furniture.


Teresa Slack said...

How did you know I am trying to focus on my current wip today instead of the beautiful weather outside? Thanks for sharing.

Elena Dorothy Bowman said...

There is nothing more precious than that which belonged to one's father. I have a picture that my father painted many years ago of a clipper ship and even if it isn't one that would appear in anyone's art gallery, it is far more precious than the ones that do. Never give that chair away. There is more to it than what it appears to be

Carol Ann said...

Thanks for the inspiring blog. The only thing I own of my father's is a handful of letters written with a pencil from the ship he was on heading into WWII. He died a few days after the last letter at the yong age of 18. Each letter. Refers to his baby girl. One day I will write the story.

Tralyn said...

Thanks for sharing this. I love the picture of the chair but, the story behind it gives it personality and a life of its own.
I would like to get my grandfather's writings. He never published anything because he didn't think anyone would want to read his "scribblings". I believe otherwise. Just to have something like this in our lives gives inspiration. Now I'm in a nostalgic mood...instead of concentrating on the pile of work on my desk. Thanks for the diversion...I think.

Jean said...

Inspiration. Motivation. Confirmation. They all come to you when you sit where another great writer, a person you admire, sat.

How grand that it is all connected to your father.

Jean Hall

Chris Everheart said...

A very touching post, Max. My mom passed away 3 weeks ago and it's funny how she seems closer now than before.
Thanks for finding me. Glad to know there are other guy writers out there who hated to read creating books for boys who, like us, hate to read.
Great blog and resources. Let's stay in touch.

Carma's Window said...

Thanks for this wonderful memory of your father. You have triggered a memory for me of my grandmother.

I was just talking today about keeping my old college essay's thinking who would want those? Now I think it is a good idea. We never know who we may motivate or inspire in the future.

Jeff said...

Darn, you reminded me of the antique chair that my father refinished. I was moving to a new home, driving down the highway with the chair unsecurely secured, and, well, I guess you can figure out the rest. There's hardly a time I sit at our computer on a store-bought office chair that I don't think about that chair. I went back to see if the chair was still lying on the road. I would have gladly picked it up, brought it with me, and used that dented, scratched, misshapen chair to write in.

max said...

I've been enjoying your comments. Thank you all,


Heather said...

Thanks for this post. I love it. I lost my father early on, and I treasure special items he left behind - and his loves, many of which are my loves, remind me of his legacy. Now that I have three boys I miss him all the more.

Dorothy Massey said...

Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment on my blog, Max. Your own blog is interesting and inspiring. I'm so pleased I discovered it and will come back often. Dorothy Massey

Sam said...

Very impressive story "My Father's Writing Chair". Keep it writing more such interesting stories.

max said...

Thank you Sam, and otherrs who continue to respond to this post.

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Anonymous said...

It was extremely interesting for me to read the post. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. BTW, why don't you change design :).

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