This is my desk. You have no idea the shame I feel, showing it to you.
Calling it a “desk” sends entirely the wrong message. First of all, it’s only desk-like in that it is a piece of furniture with a flat top and four legs. In truth, this piece dreams of one day fulfilling its destiny as a dining room table. At present, however, it mostly functions as a holder for the motley assortment of junk that I find in my hands at any given moment in the day.
Secondly, to say that this is my desk gives the impression that I accomplish work here. And, well, that was my intention. But, I don’t. Or, not regularly. Of all the places that I work – couch, bed, coffee shop, subway – I work here at the “desk” least often. There was a time when this nomadic work life pleased me. I felt so footloose, slinging my computer bag over my shoulder and heading off to catch a few minutes of work somewhere. (In those days, that was the important part: that I was going somewhere. Somewhere where no one demanded juice or dumped markers on the floor or wanted to hear Goodnight Moon for the thousandth time.)
But, now, I find myself discouraged by this necessary transience. When I am working, I frequently need some material or resource that I neglected to pack. My computer battery dies, but I don’t have the cord. Or, I need to find a quote from a book that I know I have back at home on my bookshelf. I feel like I’m in a long distance relationship with my creative self. When we first reunite, it takes a long while to get settled together. I type out phrases, then erase them, self-conscious that nothing sounds right. By the time she and I are in full make-out mode and going gangbusters on some blog posts, I glance at the clock and – for the love of…! – it’s time to pack it in and say our farewells.
Lately, I’ve been longing for a space to call my own. Not a couch in the living room, where I sit like a waiting target for any and all persons who enter and want something from me. Not a dining room, cluttered with the assorted detritus of my life. No, the room I envision is mine alone. It’s not fancy or big. But, it has room enough for a desk and chair. It has natural light. It has walls lined with bookcases and an armchair for reading. A table for a snack, pictures on the walls, and a plant or two.
I’m taking this longing as a good sign. It means that I’m finally unsatisfied squeezing in my work in stolen moments, in any old location. I have serious work to do, work that needs dedicated space and time. Virginia Woolf famously insisted that women need a space if they aspire to have any success at their art. So, I’m wondering: do you have a wonderful space in which you do the work you love? What’s it like? If you don’t have one, what would it be like?
Inspire me, won’t you? I’ll be over here at the cafe, taking notes while I dream up my writing nooks in the sky.