Fit the Second
Important news: I have moved my desk.
Since it’s been a year, I thought we might ease back in by setting the scene. I’ve recently set myself up in a corner of the spare bedroom, crammed between the foot of the bed and the wall. I find this quite comfortable and familiar because my childhood bedroom was about this size. I did a lot of imagining there. And a lot of gluing things to the walls, a tradition I do not plan to keep up. I only destroy other people’s houses. Besides, it’s better to keep things tidy, even a bit sterile.
Long ago, I formed a theory that the best imaginative work occurs in humble surroundings, because you’re forced to invent so much that it becomes a habit. I’m currently suffering the misfortune of living in a beautiful neighborhood. The view from my porch couldn’t be more charming: white picket fences, bountiful gardens, puppies everywhere . . . just awful. But from this room, you can’t see any of that - only a brick wall and an alley. Perfect!
My desk used to be in the dining room, which was too big and exposed, and freezing in the winter. That awkward room is now a yoga studio/plant nursery because goodness knows I’m never going to buy a dining room table and live like a normal person. I will imagine a dining room table if I need one.
My lifelong weakness for trinkets, postcards, and ceramics full of office supplies hasn’t left me. But the older I get, the worse I am at filtering out distractions. Maybe it’s our insta-culture reprogramming my brain to have a short attention span. Maybe it’s been a long, messy year and my way of coping is to clean with a deranged fervor. But I like how little is on and around this desk. There isn’t even any research in here - the bookcase is full of young adult fiction and the serious stuff is elsewhere. What is in here is a Playmobil tree house, a poster of Shakespearean insults, and a small figurine who reminds me of Burt Dow. Important writerly things.
I made this change because I realized that writing had become a dreary slog rather than meaningful expression. I forget who said that you can’t be creative if you’re not at play, but they’re wise words. This room is intended to be a place for imagining, not for working. So it’s not an office. This desk is no longer a repository for the boring business of adulthood. Bank statements, driver’s license renewals, jury duty notices - begone, demons! This is no place for real things.