Desktop Altar

It’s rare for me to get a question I haven’t heard at a book event or lecture. But last week, someone asked what she might see on top of my desk and I was delighted to have a non-boring answer. Because in addition to the piles of paper (fairly neat), tape dispenser, pencil cup, computer gear and other uninteresting accoutrement, there’s a kind of  inspirational beauty altar. Okay maybe not so beautiful to you, but meaningful to me.

The giraffe (out of a Celestial Seasonings Tea Box) is a memorial to my late father, who said he had been one in a previous life. The wooden “A” is from Toronto and also reminds me of my dad, who was a Linotype compositor.

The shell is from South Africa, a trip that changed the way I view the world. There’s a little rock in front of the statuette, which I picked up near Atlit, the setting for Day After Night, my latest novel.

The bit of driftwood with pebbles and words attached was a gift from my friend, artist Joel Moskowitz; the words are five lines of lyrics I wrote for music by my friend Bert Seager; it’s a kind of three-dimensional “poem” and I just love it.

Finally, the statuette, which came from a gift shop in the Grand Canyon with the following explanation: “The Anasazi tradition of working with clay and telling stories has merged into a modern art form of STORYTELLER pottery dolls.. The figurine most often depicts a grandparent who gathers his/her grandchildren around to play the drum, sing songs and tell stories of their heritage and traditions.”

What’s on your desktop?


  1. Roberta on April 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Love this question! My desk top is very special to me also.
    – a candle that I light whenever I am writing
    – a Rorex tile of 2 Indian woman facing the sun, signifing the strength we provide for each other
    – pictures of my children and husband
    – a Willow Tree girl holding a book, given to me by my daughter as an inspiration to finish my book


  2. Eliana Gilad on May 16, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Wow, you lit my heart on fire :-), inspiring me to make a post on my inspirational message blog along with a photo:

    On my desktop altar (from right to left – as befits a Hebrew speaker :-)…

    1) Clay statuette of Miriam that I made some seven years ago on a glorious vacation in the Sinai desert. This statuette, fashioned from simple clay mud found in Sinai, which I sealed with simple glue (now peeling), has chaperoned me through countless ancient healing music tours overseas. It’s my number one touchstone.

    2) An ancient pottery handle which I found in Tel Hazor – an sacred healing music site in northern Galillee. This provides me with something to hold onto… when I don’t know where to go next. It provides me with lots of faith.

    3) A small Egyptian tambourine. Provides me with the sound of music.

    4 & 5) Another ancient pottery handle picked up on a recent visit to Tel Megiddo (Armageddon) and Tel Dor (Phoenician site next to Atlit). These were also important sites for ancient sacred healing music of the biblical prophetesses.

    6) Finger cymbals. Hand made in Egypt, I use these to dissipate energy. When I need a break, I ring them. It reminds me of the music I recorded with them in the ancient water well of Zippori.

    7) A small peace dove bookmarker gift handmade by a colleague of mine. It reminds me of the beauty of simple aesthetic found in Israel. It calms me.

    8) Behind the Miriam statuette – my logo – that includes a statuette of Miriam found in Achziv in the Western Galilee, dating from the Helenistic period. The Hebrew says: Kolot Eden – Havaya Musikaleet Tehorah… which in English means…

    Voices of Eden
    Pure and Authentic Music Experience

  3. Miss on May 30, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    While I don’t have a desk at home, where I do most of my writing… I do have a little alter, so to speak, at work. I have two tiaras, a purple curvy goddess statuette, and the note I found from the universe that says, “You are a goddess.”

    A few co-workers have commented on it, sort of poking fun at my tiaras; however, there’s something to be said about remembering to act like one, even on a rough day. 🙂

  4. Eliana Gilad on May 31, 2010 at 1:07 am

    I really love reading the responses to this question as well. “Miss”, I love the thought of your altar stirring up such discussion in your work place. This is such a supportive thing to have happen. People get to connect to themselves in a deeper place (even if at first they only know to laugh at it). Levity is a great thing :-)….

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