Writing at a messy desk: the steak not the sizzle

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I’m messy. Most of my spaces are messy; my car; the floor on my side of the bed (bedside table currently has three towers of books – growing in both height and number of towers); and my desk. All messy. Filled with stuff that isn’t strictly necessary, that have better places to be. And I have time to clean, but when, as I am now, writing at a messy desk, I don’t see it. I start writing and see none of it.

Not past the screen at the old camera and glasses case, though the packet of biscuits I just devoured blurs in my periphery. The piles of crumpled papers on my right are forgotten – yellow notepad and stapler, another pile of books, a Nokia phone charger for likes of me can’t figure out what it’s doing there (does anyone have a Nokia phone anymore? Mine went out at roughly the same time as MC Hammer did.) And the box brimming with mysterious objects underneath said untidy desk which my right foot sometimes knocks (Probably why I write a lot with legs on desk and keyboard in my lap.) vanishes from my thoughts. I focus away from my surroundings, through the sizzle and down to the steak. Down to business. Eyes focus and drifts between keyboard and screen as mind narrows to thoughts and ideas.

…love to take my laptop on a date to the beach.

And it sucks in a way. I have a laptop I’d love to take on a date to the park, maybe the beach, where I’d lean up against a palm tree and just write, but that’s fantasy. I’d get distracted by the sounds of the ocean, people passing, smells, dogs wandering over wanting a sniff. No. Best to sit at an untidy/messy desk. If I ever did have a clean desk it would mean I wasn’t getting work done. I know I’m in good company. As Einstein said:

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

Clutter up and untidy away.



Also published on Medium.