I love to read about other people’s space and I often imagine my own dream space… but the truth is, I don’t even have a writing desk. For a poet I think they are less essential equipment than for the novelist, but it is good to have an organised surface. I am under no illusion that whilst I make do the rest of the world has gold cast desks in ivory towers to sit down behind. Like I said, a fascinating topic.
I mainly use laptops and notebooks (old school, the ones with paper and bindings, usually ribbon markers and well designed, appealing covers) – so I can manage with a lap tray, curled up legs, my own knees, a coffee table, side table, TV dinner table… someone else’s back… the list goes on.
In the past (before Mr G and I moved), I have had desks and since we have been living together I have often caught sight of a dream desk. Sometimes in stores I would have to go back into full-time employment to afford, other times the furniture is just too big for the dimension of the rooms bound for a desk one day.
I fell in love with an old fashioned, green leather covered desk, you know the sort. It was in a charity shop (now closed down) and I even think I know who donated it. But it was BIG and I know I am not ready.
Not being ready isn’t a case of denying myself until a standard of life is obtained, it is simply a question of space needs to come first and guess who is STILL unpacking boxes this summer?
Sometime last year or the beginning of this one, Mr G and I bought a miniature dining table (a copy of the one I grew up with) with the intention of varnishing and using it outside to replace one which was severely warped (although that made it interesting enough to appear in a poem).
Did the table make it outside? Did it get varnished? Of course not, it got placed in the middle of the room and had stuff dumped all over it – until Christmas when we used it as a dining table for a very small family gathering. This means it was 2015 we bought it! After this I decided that if it was going to spend the winter/spring inside – I may as well use it.
The ‘desk bed’ 2014
Use it I did. A tablecloth to hide the imperfections yet to be tackled, a bar to rest my foot against as I sit in quite possibly the worst cross-legged position at the laptop. Month on month the post and magazines, diaries, notes, receipts, books etc. grew at a magical rate. In amongst this writing stew – car keys, hairbrushes, money, cards, hair bobbles, pens would all go astray.
The first task of my summer holiday was to strip it all back (a design term for tidy up) to make me feel I was being creative and using my time purposefully! Most of it was binned, re-shelved, stacked elsewhere neatly in piles. Then I went and rescued an oilcloth basket I bought last summer on my London expedition (which was still in the bag with receipt of purchase) and tidied everything I needed into that. The scrap paper notes pad, diaries, pencil case, pens etc.
I have spent the past 4 nights tidying up after myself. Everyday I have used this space well. Although a clearer mind implies less ideas, it is a more comfortable place to write now. Or edit, which has been my main task this month.
What about the space you write in?