That Adele Geras! Yesterday she uploaded a wonderfully tidy desk picture, and I felt jealous (I suspect I'm not the only one), and ashamed of the depths of disorder to which my own desk - and, by extension, I - had fallen. If the desktop is the window of the soul, then mine is located somewhere round about Dante's fifth circle, and falling.
By way of catharsis - or self-flagellation - let me offer you this alternative vision, taken the minute I'd read Adele's post. Here are some of the features of interest:
1) My pearwood recorder. Like the second Doctor Who, I find playing the recorder a very useful aid to thought. My trusty descant seldom leaves my desk, unless to dance round the room with me in an ungainly pas de deux. Some of my best ideas have come to me as I tooted out a bit of Dowland.
2) The coffee cup. Of course there's always a coffee cup...
3) Reading the Awfully Big Blog Adventure is a terrible displacement activity. Actually, has anyone ever done a book of Displacement Activities? Surely a publisher might be interested - and writers are world's experts on the subject. I could edit an anthology, perhaps, and call it Thieves of Time. Hmm, perhaps I'll spend half an hour making a list of things to go in it...
*half an hour later*
4) This is the timetable for my day job, which tells me what I should be teaching, week by week. (What, you didn't think I financed my millionaire lifestyle just by writing for children, did you?)
5) Children's art - which doesn't get replaced as often as it ought. I see that some of these were written for my 44th birthday, which was... a while ago, now. Unfortunately I can't have a desk by a window, or the procrastination would never stop. I could happily pass a day watching raindrops nudge each other down the pane.
6) I've been consulting an atlas of modern history - which, in this context, means after 1483. I've only just realized, having read a little about the Kingdom of Naples, why half the people in The Tempest have Spanish names, despite coming from Italy. Am I the only one ever to have wondered about that? If not, am I the only one to wonder for approximately thirty years before bothering to look it up? Now that's procrastination!
What you don't see here, of course, is space for a longhand notebook. That's because I write my first drafts in cafes, on sofas, and in really comfortable chairs, not at the desk. So really this isn't a writing desk after all, just the plain vanilla variety. I'm very fond of it, though. It says nothing very good about me or the unhealthy chaos of my brain, but hey - this thing of darkness I acknowledge mine.