writing exercise

i am starting to read natalie goldberg’s book about writing, in which she puts forth writing exercises that will jog memories for memoir writing. the first time i picked this book up, the timing just wasn’t right. but now, with my goal of writing every other day and my workshop with michael perry next month, the time is ripe!

one of the first things she says to warm up is to start with “i am looking at” and go for 10 minutes.

so, i am looking at my desk, not for want of looking anywhere else. my desk takes up a good portion of the office. it’s not a very pretty desk, nor a seemingly organized desk, but everything i need is on it. at first glance, you see the two monitors (one of which is an imac) and a large shelf full of stuff that needs more shelves. further inspection reveals quite a bit of photo-making gear, from the large format printer to the 6 packages of photo paper. but enough of the superficial stuff. what makes up a person’s desk? a person’s personal space? over the summer i had lost my desk, hauling my computer back and forth to austin/st. joe. it made me realize how much i enjoyed my desk and having that space. no place else in the house is completely mine to do with what i will. you can see the worn spots on the desk where my forearms sit as i type, the frog-shaped spot that got dug into the table-top at some point. the dirty mousepad that probably makes my mouse worse than if i weren’t using it. batteries, cords, miniatures of han solo and princess leia, a roll of nickels, a pencil jar from my 11th grade biology class, CDs of classical and movie score music, photoshop books, photos of my cat, my door, my MLP shoots, my siblings. nothing is more personal than a person’s deskspace because without personalization, how is one to get any sort of inspiration? whether you’re a graphic designer, programmer, writer, gamer, or just an internet user, what you have, or don’t have, on your desk really speaks to the way you work. you surround yourself with snippets, thoughts, pictures, hints, or whitespace even, that will help your brain to process what it needs to process to push yourself to get whatever you need to get done done. i’ll say this: after years of having a blank wall in front of me, i finally put up pictures, and it did wonders for my wellbeing while sitting at my desk. these days, there is a window directly in front of me while i sit at my desk. i am looking forward to springtime when the window plastic strips off and the blinds go up, because greenery and light will be the best inspirations a person could have. Β yes, a desk is a glorious thing; it speaks of who you are, what you like, what you want to have happen, and what the rest of your world would look like if you had a chance to change it and not share with others. when i finally was able to put my desk back together after moving, it was like all was good with the world. the living room could wait. the bathroom could wait. for now, i needed to have my singular space and bask in it.

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