Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Desk Jealousy - Charlie Butler


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.

8 comments:

Nicky said...

Oh dear. If you think that is messy I am not letting anyone see my desk. Why no (empty) wine glasses, earrings or rugby socks? Doesn't everyone have those on their desks?

adele said...

I like your desk very much, Charlie and didn't mean to cause any angst, truly. Those numbers you've put on are very natty too!

AnneR said...

Charlie, your desk really doesn't count as messy - I can see what it's made of! I tidied my desk and it looks messier than yours. Adele's desk, my daughter and I decided, is not her real desk. She probably snuck into a showroom and took a pic of a model desk. Her things are *lined up*. I think it was a cruel hoax? Any comment, Adele? :-)

bookwitch said...

I've seen worse, Charlie.

And I always thought Adèle works at the kitchen table, so the picture was clearly fake.

Charlie Butler said...

That's all very reassuring. I think I agree with you, Anne - that carefully-centred mouse is very suspicious!

Bookwitch, I marvel at your Blogger-fu in being able to put the accent into Adele's name.

Lee said...

OK, I'm going to post a photo of my desk at Lowebrow so you can really appreciate messy. And please note the ARC of Nick's new novel The Storm Bottle, which I'll blog about quite soon.

bookwitch said...

You've got an ARC? I'll never speak to Nick again!!!

Charlie - it took me about a year to learn the 'backwards' accent, but was determined. My Apple geniuses failed, and I found the thing myself in the end. Now I accent away to my heart's content.

Anne Rooney said...

My Big Daughter's middle name is Héloïse we are accents-central here. She still curses me for it. I'm sure here online UCAS form has her called something like H¾lo¶se...