(This is my upstairs writing desk)
I’m intrigued by a book I recently discovered. The Writer’s Desk by Jill Krementz depicts fifty-five writers at their desks. Actually, desks may be too broad a term; “work space” might be more accurate.
It got me thinking about my desks and where I do most of my writing.
Upstairs, in a corner of my bedroom, is a small, white desk with a pink rolling chair. The desk is functional. It’s small enough so that it doesn’t get cluttered with extras. And I have consciously decorated it with only a few special items (a candle, a miniature Eiffel Tower statue, a gorgeous heart paperweight - to name a few). My little desk has a purpose: it provides me with a work space, a hard table surface for my laptop. A place where I can escape and try to squeeze in a little bit of writing time. It’s not the most comfortable work space (akin to those found in coffee shops), but it gets the job done.
Downstairs, up against a window in our living room, is my main desk, or “mission control” as my husband refers to it. It is at this large wooden desk, that bills are paid, cards are written, appointments are made. It is here where papers used to be graded and lessons planned. This desk is where I keep our family, our home, functioning and running smoothly. It is here, among reminders to call about my car insurance, that I also write.
And on days when the weather is agreeable, I love to write on my back patio. Fresh air, the occasional hummingbird sighting, and I am in my own peaceful, writing bubble. However, my writing is not limited to these areas. If it were, I wouldn’t get half as much writing done. Sometimes, it’s just not helpful for me to write at home. There are too many distractions: the phone ringing, the pile of laundry that needs to get done, the dishwasher that needs to be emptied, the phone call about the car insurance that needs to be made.
On days when I know my mind will be pre-occupied with household tasks, I choose to write elsewhere: a favorite bookstore cafe, a local, independent coffee house, a bagel place. While these establishments are certainly not free of distractions (crying children, loud cell-phone conversations), I am there to write. I therefore can only do one of two things: read or write. And when both of those activities fail to keep me occupied, then I know it’s time for me to leave and return home.
I do fantasize about what my own “writing room” would look like (notice, I’ve upped the ante and moved beyond a writer’s desk to a whole room). A small table that would always hold fresh flowers. Candles. Overflowing bookcases. A large desk, just for writing. For now, it’s a vague fantasy, but I am reminded of a Cosby Show episode from Season 8, “Clair’s Place.” Finally, after twenty-years of waiting, Clair was given her own refuge, a soundproof room of her own. I need to bide my time and just keep writing.
And for now, my writer’s desk is wherever I’m writing.
(This is my desk downstairs: "mission control")