Some things just make us feel really good about ourselves. Few things make us feel better than finding a bargain we love. I love to shop at charity shops simply because one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure – right? I LOVE a good browse about, and never more than when I’m doing some redecorating. That’s how I found my new old desk.
I’m very intimidated by redecorating because I live in my head so much and seldom pay attention to my immediate environment, but this time, my redecorating is all about claiming a space for myself. I’m sure every writer – every person — for that matter, understands how essential claiming our own space is. Many of you know that I’m quite tunnel-visioned when it comes to my craft. I’ve kept my head down writing hard for such a long time that I haven’t bothered to claim any space except for my end of the dining table. While tunnel vision can be a good thing for a writer in the throes of a story, it can also keep us from seeing the obvious. Neck and shoulder problems and a wonderful trainer who suggested that part of the solution would be to have a space that was dedicated especially to my work have made me realize, I need to claim a proper space. It’s not that there hasn’t been the opportunity all along, but the room that was earmarked to be my study devolved into a junk room when I had to have surgery not long after we moved into our house. The longer I put off the claiming of space, the more stuff we accumulated. Now it’s cluttered with the detritus of too many moves and the serious accumulations and hoardings of two pack rats.
God! I’m a psychology lesson happening to myself, aren’t I? As my mind clears from the mad rush to write more and more and the wild fantasies all writers have when the task is new, and the excitement comes from just having someone actually reading our books, from seeing our books in public places, I find myself seeking space. I find myself longing to hone my craft in new and different ways – paths on which my heart leads me. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those desires coincides with the purchase of a new ‘old’ desk.
The desk is like my mind, a bit on the used side, but ultimately, a hidey-hole for my craft, for my imagination, a place to shut it all away for just me. When it’s closed, no one even knows that it’s there. Ooh, I love secret places, don’t you? But when I open those doors, I’m gone – to another place, to another time, to another planet. I’m someone else, I’m multiple someone elses all with a story to be told. Opening those doors is another reminder that, to paraphrase Joseph Campbell, I get to follow my bliss! I get to pursue your deepest passion every day. How lucky am I? The desk is a symbol of where it is I go when I write. It’s a bit battered. It’s used. It has secrets, secrets I’ll never know. But now it’s mine. Now it opens to me. Now my stories and my secrets will fill it every day.
I’ve dusted and cleaned and tried out each little compartment and cubby hole inside, filling it with my treasured tools of the trade. At the moment, the room that’ll be my study isn’t ready, but my desk is ready. It’s temporarily making itself at home in my living room right next to the jumble of workout equipment, and I’m making myself at home with it. I can’t keep from wondering what stories I’ll write in this space of my own, and what adventures will result from the simple act of laying claim to space.