At My Desk
Hello dear readers. I hope you appreciate that I had to clean my home desk and mock up a writerly scene for your viewing pleasure. Most of the items seen on the desk in these photographs are usually kept on my bed, or in my handbag or overnight bag. I am a travelling gypsy of sorts, an itinerate worker in the civil engineering field, recently turfed out of my day job in Newcastle at the hands of a diabolical cutthroat Mayor. As the fictional Chaucer from A Knights Tale once declared “I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.” Except luckily I was not naked, my clothes were one of the few things I retained when I had to give up my home in Newcastle and venture south to the bustling metropolis of Ryde, Sydney.
So explaining the desk, we have a TV (still not plugged in from the move) that I won in a Terry White Chemist raffle a couple of years back, a graduation bear from Swinburne University of Technlogy that I bought for myself when I received my Grad Cert in Technical Communications in March 2012, an elaborate collection of perfumes with uniquely shaped bottles – including Marc Jacobs “Daisy” in honour of a recently deceased family friend, a 93 year old great-grandmother who was the inspiration behind the short story Midnight Daisy (and audio here) — a stuffed toy Thai red elephant from my first and only overseas holiday, a “queen of f*cking everything” goblets from my 30th birthday and candles from my stint as a candle party lady aka candle sales consultant during my recent unemployment.
The little notebooks are Moleskines. I jot down dreams and names and conversations and observations and ideas. I always keep at least one in my handbag at all times. I bought my original three-pack in Melbourne, and they have travelled with me around Tasmania, Sydney and Newcastle. Sometimes I look back at my scribblings and don’t recognise myself. If I didn’t channel my disturbed mind into creative writing there is some possibility I would be a serial killer or living under a bridge somewhere muttering to myself.
The little computer is an Asus Vivo with a a keyboard. Its super light and portable, so I can take it on my weekend getaways to the houses of friends and family. Steal a bit of their wifi, they love it!
I am particularly interested in the art of the short story, experimenting with length and form. This is my library of fiction and non-fiction, and this is my little stack of story-story anthologies and collections. Some favourites include Cate Kennedy and Jim Crace.
When it comes to desks, if I am being honest, the desk I most often write at is my work desk. I will transcribe and edit handwritten stories on my work computer during lunch hour or breaks, and I will often stay back after hours to type stories up because the work desk forces me to sit up straight and structure and print and proofread. These are a seletion of photos from my current work desk. I brightened the space up with an acrylic flower explosion. I work with a lot of men with monochrome minimalistic desks. I prefer a busy erratic desk with lots of visual stimuli.
So at my work desk I usually have my mug of tea (Assam Bold, the strongest ever Twinings tea), and a bottle of water. My papers are spread around like an orgy of evidence. My engineering work often infiltrates my creative writing. I will do composite characters based on traits of customers, character names based on street names, technical terms laced into descriptions.
The work desk is where I organise my Sydney Writers Festival schedule, where my coworkers leave me little gifts or funny post-it notes, and where I unwrap my newest Moleskine notebooks or my latest delivery of Sniggerless Boundulations my debut collection of flash fiction, vignettes and microfiction. I will check in on the reviews on Goodreads to see awesome things like “Rarely is an author able to so clearly capture and convey emotions and small slices of life in so few words, with the economy of a poet,” and think maybe sometimes the best place to be is out of your comfort zone.