My wife wants me to buy a desk. A fifty-year-old writer writing books on top of a piece of plywood that he has stretched across two banged-up metal file cabinets is – I don’t know what – Cheap? Pathetic? She also would like me to replace my desk chair, which I found in the basement of a house I rented thirty years ago when I was in college. The paint would be chipping off the chair if it had any paint left to chip.
After I sold my first mystery, my parents bought me a beautiful glass organizer for pens, paperclips, and the like – all those desktop items that I would keep neat if I owned a proper desk instead of a piece of cheap, pathetic plywood.
Recently, my aunt, who lives in
Several years ago, my mother-in-law bought me a khaki safari jacket, telling me she thought it looked “writerly” – and it probably did in a Hemingway kind of way. If I wore it while writing, I could use the roughly two dozen pockets in it to store all the extra pens and paperclips that didn’t fit in the desk organizer. That is, if I had a desk.
But I like my workspace. It includes only the essentials, nothing that gets in the way –physically, emotionally, psychologically – when I’m writing. A laptop and a PC fit comfortably between my manuscripts and notes, my boxes of paperclips, my pens, and my post-office scale. If I’m thirsty, I can squeeze in a coffee cup. Pictures of my wife and kids smile at me from the top of an extra file cabinet.
At my smiling wife’s insistence, I agreed – reluctantly – to stain and polyurethane the plywood “desktop.” The fanciness of the glossy finish bothered me for a couple of weeks until dust started to settle. As for the rest, some day I hope to visit