Because life is a series of edits

On the Desk

In Places on December 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm

I've really been out of sorts the past several days, but (believe it or not) it's not all been due to Christmas (see previous post for more on that).

Honestly, a lot of my frustration has been because I've metaphorically been a "man without a country," as my old, cheap, over-sized particle board desk of ten-plus years literally fell apart in my hands when I tried to move it six inches earlier in the week. The old thing (then with hutch) was a steal when I bought it ($100 from off some guy's driveway) and somehow made it through six major moves (not to mention a handful of the room-to-room variety in the midst of all those), but finally gave up the ghost just hours before we started our Christmas travels this year.

Needless to say, a happy camper I was not. It sounds stupid, I know, but I don't do well when I don't have a place to work. When my desk is a mess – or in this case, when I don't have a desk at alI – an overwhelming fear of never creating, accomplishing, or writing anything ever again washes over me and I spiral into a depression of Nietzschean futility that not even his superman could hope to overcome.

I confess I've always romanticized the idea of the desk. I still remember with great affection the first (and only) desk I had through my middle school and high school years – it had four full drawers below for clothes, a huge fold-down panel that served as the work area, and all kinds of slots and compartments inside the hutch. Another particle board jobbie, it finally broke down after seven years of hard use.

I can tell you about every desk at every place I've ever lived since. My desks at college were standard issue dorm desks, but they were solid and sufficed for what I needed at the time (the concept of desktop or laptop computers was non-existent then, so there was plenty of workspace). When I was on staff with The Navigators, I usually had a desk at the office, but I always had a desk at home as well.

At times my desks have had their own rooms; oftentimes, however, they haven't (as this one doesn't now). But having a room doesn't matter as much as having a desk – it is life and breath to me, and now that my new one is assembled and in place, it's hard to explain how good it feels to finally live and breathe again.

Thus, with no further adieu, let me introduce you to my new desk: the Studio RTA – Lake Point Computer Desk – super solid, classy looking, and a lot more efficient than my former (and bigger) desk. Thanks to Best Buy for having it on sale, to Mom and Dad for the Christmas money to buy it, to Megan for patiently enduring my whining until I got it, and to my nine-year-old for helping me put it together (she is amazingly persevering when it comes to home projects, working with me the full four hours it took to put together).


It's good to be home.

  1. Nice. It does look very solid, and has an elegant simplicity to it, as well as a mildly-modern flair.
    Isn’t it something how desks are so personal and evoke so much for many of us? I don’t think I could comfortably work long hours on a desk that didn’t “fit” my preferences, which are different from everyone else’s.
    I’m glad you got your “home” set up again. Merry Christmas, old friend.

  2. Craig,
    Does it push you to the verge of a panic attack to look upon my desk(s) at the bookstore?
    I’m sentimental about many possessions–desks aren’t one of them.

  3. Yes, Ed, the new desk is quite a bit more hip-looking than the other desks I’ve had. It’s also the smallest desk I’ve had, but so far, so good (I think I was suffering from desk sprawl before).
    Nick, now that you ask, I confess that I have pondered your particular setup. As you are a man with three large desks (yes, folks, count ’em: three) in your one-room office, I wonder how much space you could free up if you consolidated even three into two? Let’s talk desk philosophy sometime and maybe we can figure something out for you (I do desk consulting on the side…just ask Megan).

  4. Craig,
    Glad that your new desk helped you come down off Grinch’s mountain…”they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.” We are all wired differently, huh? May 2010 bring you fresh ideas for writing and the time to do it!

  5. Thanks, Katie. Those two commodities (ideas and time) are the very things I need. Pray for them for me, would you? Happy New Year.

  6. I just read a Wendell Berry poem yesterday that somehow seems applicable. Do not think that I imply the application is that you are old; only that there is something holy about a place to write.
    The kindly faithful light returns.
    Morning returns and the forgiving season.
    The pastures turn green, again. Blossom
    And leafbud gentle the harsh woods.
    The warm breezes return to the cold river.
    The phoebe returns to the porch.
    And I return again to my window
    where I have sat at my work all winter.
    In the fortieth year of my work in this room
    I sit without working and look out,
    An old man, into the young light.
    Wendell Berry
    (from the poetry collection “Given”)
    P.S. Hope the line breaks transfer correctly..

  7. Ann, you never need to apologize for any reason for quoting Wendell Berry. Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem. Happiness is having English teachers as friends.

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