Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

The editors of Writer's Digest provide a weekly Writing Prompt to get your writing going.
Brian
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:07 am

Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

Postby Brian » Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:18 am


Brian
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:07 am

Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

Postby Brian » Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:18 am

Describe your workspace in vivid detail. What items are on your desk? What pictures do you have on the walls? What does your trash can look like?

Please limit your response to 500 words or fewer.

dfrahmann
 

RE: Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

Postby dfrahmann » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:10 am

My workspace is tucked away in a corner of the living room.

The desktop contains my computer screen, of course. Two speakers tremble with ZZ Top’s “La Grange”. Several clusters of crystals and flints are scattered like Easter eggs among a bronze statue of a Hindu dancer, a hematite rabbit and pig (in honor of the Chinese zodiac signs for myself and my husband), a small bottle of clary sage essential oil, and, of course, the scattered bits and pieces of my current project.

On the wall to my left is a very old picture of an oriental musician in ceremonial dress plucking a stringed instrument. The picture is done on cloth, and looks like someone used red chalk on an embossed surface. To the right of that picture is a poster with “Serenity” by Ching Qu Lam. Whenever I'm ready to tear my hair out in big red handfuls, I make myself read this.

On the nearby windowsill, Desdemona (a pothos plant) is queening it over a green crystal ball and a blue glass paperweight, both of which are making beautiful use of the late afternoon sun. From my freestanding desk lamp swings a wooden sign proclaiming, “The Witch Is In”. (She is, she is...)

The desk to my left holds a sprawling black and white cat who has no intention of moving. The printer to my right sports a “Mean People Suck” sticker. A bookcase holds a statue of Buddha, sea shells, more crystals, a framed print of the Chinese characters for “Courage to Change”, and books, books, books.

As I write this, I realize that, even if he or she has never been to my house before, anybody who really knows me would take one look at this little corner and know immediately that it was mine.

DeborahB
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 893
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:02 pm

RE: Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

Postby DeborahB » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:26 pm

There is a banana peel in my trashcan, nothing else. All the usual pieces of paper you'd expect to find there are stuffed in the cubby holes of my antique desk. I figure if I leave them there long enough some of the mystique of an antique will rub off on them and they will become valuable to more than just me. Both the trashcan and the desk sit in my study off the living room. I sit there too, but not at the desk and not near the trashcan. I sit in front of what I like to think is the best picture on the walls, two French doors. A nifty little rolling table holds my laptop and I swivel around in my Office Max chair along with the sun, east in the morning, south mid-day and west as my bright companion slides behind the mountains. Characters occupy the rest of my space and on good days, if I'm lucky, they talk to me and I tell their stories. On not so good days, especially the cold winter ones, I curl up in front of the fireplace and read a book I wish I had written.

eagletom
Private E-2
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 10:30 am

RE: Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

Postby eagletom » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:02 pm

The chair I sit in wraps around me like a mother comforting her sick child. It rolls on five casters hard enough to blister linoleum and swivels three-hundred-sixty degrees pointing me at whatever is attracting my attention. The desk rolls on wheels that scream like scared canaries whenever I need to move it to clean the hairballs coated with dust. A retractable shelf designed to support no more weight than the keyboard and mouse that lives on it is a constant source of pain as I will sometimes push it in with a cup of coffee perched on it, leaving burns that look like I’d rubbed a dirty diaper all over my leg and forgot to wipe it off. My old 19-inch CRT monitor warped the shelf it sat on so I replaced it with a 17-inch LCD. It’s black - like Darth Vader’s helmet.

The desk itself is situated in the corner of the dining room where the two largest windows in the house provide enough glare to make mothers stand between me and their children for fear they might contract pinkeye from me. On the wall to my right is a painting of some oranges on a branch ripped from a tree near my mother’s house. Populating the wall in front of me are three drawings made by a man who loved the desert like it was his own planet and was an enormous influence on me as a child. I framed and hung them after he bequeathed them to me.

The cd-rom tray hits me in the shin whenever I open it to play whatever music cd my nephew has burned in his efforts to educate me. My UPS beeps annoyingly whenever the power is interrupted and I have to get on my knees to click it off after I do a system shut down. My printer occupies an island shelf higher than the monitor shelf and collects more dust than my friend’s ’78 black 924 Porsche he keeps uncovered in his basement with the hope somebody might want that piece of junk someday.

I do love my work station.

LElfman
 

RE: Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

Postby LElfman » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:49 pm

Years ago an employer told me that I was the most organized disorganized person she ever met. She'd regale people with details of how she would ask me for something and I would stick my hand in a pile and present the desired document within seconds.

I have tried and tried to become neater, but the bottom line is we all have weak points and strong suits. I am meticulous about deadlines. I keep track of everything important. I pay all my bills on time (not easy on freelance income) and I've never bounced a check. But I am 47 years old and I simply accept that my desk will always be a mess.

These days my office is my bedroom, but I am going to dodge the details of my clothes—both on hangers and on the floor—and my old Heart tapes. I craft my brilliant prose at an 11-year-old computer workstation positioned in the corner of my bedroom. To my right is my clothes closet. To my left is the bathroom. A little further to the left are my windows, which have a most exquisite view of Central Park, but I have to get up to see it and being the highly disciplined slob that I am I do not often do that.

This computer work station was designed when your hard drive went underneath your monitor, so now that I have a 21st century computer that won't fit in the space allotted the hard drive has to go underneath the desk, which means my left leg is forever uncomfortable. To the right is a big pile of scrap paper, because if I only used fresh paper to print out research, etc., I would go broke and probably destroy a rain forest.

At the right side of the workstation is a desk of sorts, but I do not generally roll myself in that direction. I reach over if I need the telephone, which is often because most of my work involves interviews. Next to the telephone is the omnipresent tape recorder, a spiffy silver thing from Radio Shack. To the left of the tape recorder are two piles of business cards. Behind it is a tray with paper clips and rubber bands. To the right is a stack of papers that I try to whittle down every couple of months.

There is a cabinet that contains a bunch of old instruction manuals and CDs from years ago as well as the all-important backup CDs of my work that I make every two weeks obsessively.

On top of the workstation is my printer, a ream of paper, blank tapes, AA batteries and an old pocket dictionary for those times Microsoft Word just cannot help. Behind me are files containing the materials for each of my assignments, which I keep in tact until the piece is published.

At the center of the action am I—one slovenly highly organized productive writer always looking for her next assignment.

Piper
Sergeant Major
 
Posts: 384
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:36 pm

RE: Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

Postby Piper » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:42 pm

Many years ago, when I was young and foolish, I tried to manage my workspace. Over time, however, I have come to accept that I am an inveterate slob. My papers are archeologically filed by depth. Gravity ensures a continuous collection of items on the floor, from papers and pencils to a hole puncher, two canes, empty binders and a Staples catalog. A workout resistance tube hangs limply from one leg of the table and a broken lamp haphazardly leans against another. Garbage can? Please. I’m no amateur.

Every few months, I consider simply dynamiting the area and removing the rubble with a front end loader. But then reality intrudes. I admit it. I work in a bona fide disaster area and I’m sure I could qualify for federal aid if I could find my computer to write the grant application. But there’s something else in my workspace – something that doesn’t belong there, but I’ve yet to convince him of this fact. His name is Really Rude Rudy, he’s of the feline persuasion, and he weighs 21 pounds.

My ownership of the house and all its contents is a mere technicality. I’ve accepted that I’m just staff placed here to serve the needs of the cats. But from time to time, Really Rude Rudy permits me to sit in the chair in front of my computer. Even on such occasions, however, I have to negotiate with him for access to the screen. I used to plead, cajole, and even threaten. Then I discovered Blistex. Or more to the point, I discovered that Really Rude Rudy can’t resist the stuff.

With this discovery, the benefits of bribery were instantly apparent. I began to prepare my battlefield accordingly. In the little supply tray, next to the staples and in front of the poker chips, sit four tubes of Blistex cream. But there’s more to bribery than medicated lip ointment. Next to my desk are my two other essential tools without which I might be doomed: a jar of peanut butter and a box of Ritz crackers. And next to those is a stack of paper plates.

Using these tools of persuasion at appropriate intervals ensures virtually unfettered access to my computer. The porker spreads himself out in front of my monitor. I briefly attempt to coax him off, but when that invariably doesn’t work, I go straight to Blistex on the finger. That cat’s off the desk like a shot, happily slurping mentholated icky stuff to his little heart’s content. I grab the chair. MINE.

Throughout the day, then, I humor the beast with a peanut butter-smeared cracker. He slimes the plate and accepts the humiliating loss like a champ. I, on the other hand, accept my humiliating victory like the wuss that I am. It may not be an ideal existence, but from where I’m sitting (in front of my computer at the moment, by the way), it’s way ahead of whatever’s in second place.

Jes
 

RE: Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

Postby Jes » Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:56 pm

I love my desk. It’s buried under layers of crap. Stacks of unpaid bills and the uncashed checks to pay them with sit nestled between my desk lamp and my penholder. They're laughing at my pathetic hope that if I ignore them long enough the checks will eventually out total the amount I owe. I'm fully aware that I should exit Word and open Excel, so stop looking at me like that. As soon as I’m done here I’ll chase away the muses and buckle down with Pythagoras. Maybe he can figure out how to make two-plus-two equal a mortgage payment. If not, I can always call on the philosophers to help me prove my mortgage doesn't exist.

Let’s see, what else am I willing to admit to? Eclogue VIII is taped to the wall. Virgil likes to remind me that I will never be numbered among the greatest writers of any genre, not even the authors of those creative ‘please excuse my child’s absence’ notes. I stand firm in my belief that if the school system insists on grossly mismanaging my money, ‘because she was sick’ should more than suffice. But I digress.

My desk is carpeted with papers and several recipe card boxes that someone promised me would help organize my thoughts, (if you think my desk is a mess, you should get a look inside my brain). A half-full can of Monster Energy Drink serves as a paperweight. There are napkins, sticky-notes, index cards waiting to be filed in aforementioned boxes and envelopes that will eventually have to be sent back to my creditors with payment included, all covered with nearly incoherent scribbling, thoughts the muses couldn’t hold on to until I found a notebook.

Don’t get me wrong; I love my desk. It’s been my home for the past year as I’ve struggled through writing my first novel. I’ve eaten here, wept here and chatted on AIM with other writers, giving and getting encouragement from some of the nicest people I’ve never met. I’ve had some interesting, horrifying and wonderful conversations with my two kids here over the months, though my husband insists I move to another room and look him square in the eye when he’s trying to tell me something. He is a wise man.

Lastly, there are a stack of letters on my printer, no longer in use because I refuse to be strong-armed into paying Dell’s ridiculous prices, plus shipping and handling, to replace my empty black cartridge and ergo, the bastard will not even allow me to use the color cartridge. The letters are a mish-mash of rejections from literary agents, everything from ‘this didn’t interest me’ to ‘my loss is someone else’s gain’. On the top, mangled and dog-eared from an impromptu and rather bacchanalian happy dance, sits an altogether different letter. ‘We love your novel, we think it will have mass-appeal, and we are looking forward to working with you’. Did I mention, I love my desk?

paperbackwriter
Private E-1
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:17 pm

RE: Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

Postby paperbackwriter » Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:29 pm

As you look at my worspace, the first thing you will notice is white path which leads up to the front door of a three story haunted house. On the left of the house is a dead tree with no leaves, in front of which sits a grinning pumkin. Next to the pumpkin (for effect) is an antique
vial with a skull and crossbones on it indicating that it contains poison. (Actually green food coloring. The three story house has a variety of dark rooms, some with strange glowing whites eyes perring of the windows into the night.
On the lawn in front of the house, (a house I call the Lawrenceville Estate. Spend the night, you stay forever. Future story idea), there's a crystal birdbath with an ebony bird on it and a pool of blood in the center. Next to it is a large skull with a black hood. it has an inverted cross on its forhead, blood red eyes, the left one oozing blood, and blood on the corner of its mouth. It's actually a bank from a Salem Massechusettes witch hunting museum done up for Halloween. Next to the skull lies a tombstone with a black cat with a broken tail on top, and one eye blazing red. A hand is seen coming up from the grave.
In front of it all is a framed picture of the Master, Stephen King, and a mug which was made for me by this girl reading Writers do it with Imagination.
All for inspiration.

Betsy
 

RE: Your Workspace 9/19-9/25

Postby Betsy » Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:47 pm

Right now my workspace stinks!

The cubby beneath my desk is barely large enough for my full-grown German shepherd to crawl into. We just came in from playing ball and she’s panting. Yuk! If I didn’t like her so much she’d be out of there!

The sun is low in the sky, casting long shadows across the golden meadow. The tips of the Alder trees across the meadow are vibrant green as they catch the last rays of the sun. The pine trees behind the Alders are a deep, forest green that contrasts the fading blue sky. Unfortunately the scene is marred by a failed window that has moisture spots in the middle and cobwebs on the outside corners. The window next to it has the pleated gray blind closed, protecting my monitor from the southern sun.

I count 13 magazines, four books, five binders and five manila files with messy papers hanging out. A dime sits on a coaster next to a stapler and pink highlighter. There’s a free razor in a package from Gillette, a CD lying loose, three pens, Scotch tape, a letter from a friend, papers in a semi-neat pile that I removed from a notebook so I could use the notebook for other purposes. My ode to décor is a Fire and Light lavender glass candle holder and candle, and a matching star.

A wooden desk organizer is properly filled with old bank statements, bills, and letters that are either within the slots or not. I just remembered that the organizer has two drawers which I haven’t seen in months because of my habit of stashing envelopes behind the candle. More CD’s in cases and a package of pictures I haven’t looked at in months lean against the organizer, flanked by a box of Kleenex, a desk light that’s never used and a picture of my husband and me in Mexico, for when I daydream.

My monitor is huge! No flat screens for me because I got this great deal on a 22 inch monitor way back when and it still works well. The only problem with the monitor is that it’s about two feet deep, taking up most of my desk which is only four by six feet and full of important things, as I’ve described.

Aside from my desk my workspace is lovely—it’s part of my bedroom. The fireplace is to my right and big windows on every wall look out over a five acre meadow surrounded by forest. The Pacific Ocean, barely visible through the trees, roars during the night when a storm comes in. To my left is my vanity with lighting that a movie star would love. Behind me, on the wall, my husband’s portrait in black and white shows a pensive, thoughtful man.

It’s a simple, cluttered workspace. My dog on my foot, the sun is now gone, and it no longer stinks.

 


Next

Return to Writing Prompts and Challenges

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests