I took this picture roughly a month ago, between the passes of an early spring shower. It shows the balcony of my second-floor apartment, with the second-hand desk I bought some six years ago, and the handmedown chair from the cafe where I once worked.
It’s stayed out in the weather six full years. The desktop laminate has been peeling for a couple of years, and the shards of fiberboard are “shedding.” (You can see where the laminate is curling upward.) I bought it (paid a whopping $15) so I’d have an outside writing desk. Here are two pictures taken just a few days ago from my balcony, showing why I like to be outside.
Yes, this sorta view can distract rather than inspire if I’m not careful. But the same elements that make it distracting can also serve to keep me out, at the desk, hopefully writing.
But, it’s come way past time for a new desk. There’s no way I can write at my current one without receiving no fewer than a bazillion wooden splinters, laced with I-don’t-wanna-know-what chemical treatments.
Some will say that if you’re “really a writer,” then it doesn’t matter where you write, so long as you have something to write with and to write on—your blood on your cell wall, if that’s all you got. But writing is difficult enough work; there’s no need to stack more odds against yourself. If you’ve found something that eases the load, then it’s an act of honoring your writing by continuing with that. (And by the way, for three years I had a cardboard box for a writing desk. I think my suffering-for-your-art dues are still in good standing.)
That said, because writing IS difficult enough work, I do need to stay mindful that I’m not putting off my writing by, say, using the lack of a splinter-free desk as a reason for not coming faithfully to the open pages. (After all, I can always go back to using a cardboard box…) And, too, it bothers me that it’s been “a couple of years” that I’ve let my so-called writing desk remain un-write-on-able. This maybe does question my commitment to my writing.
I moved to this small-town mountain valley ten years ago because it seemed I’d become unable to write where I was currently living. The views, the farming/ranching community, and the close-knitness of this place seemed a workable alternative. Getting that new desk will certainly help matters along.