Somebody, somewhere once said, “The state of the desk tells a lot about the owner’s mind.” If that is true, I need to do a lot of mental decluttering. Right now, my desk is a combination work-space and comfortable cocoon. It’s not a disaster area, but it could use some clearing and a bit of furniture polish.
The photograph shows the state of my messy desk at around the time I began writing this blog post. (4:11 AM) It’s dark outside, a little breezy, and a little chilly. This desk is a comfortable, secure little space. I’m most at home, while home sitting here, writing. It’s conducive to creativity.
The desk, itself, is a small wooden seven-drawer unit with a veneered top that curves down at the front towards the drawers. It was manufactured in the late 1930s in the “waterfall”/Art Deco style that was chic in its day. I bought this desk in 1978 from a secretary at the radio station who was moving to another town and wanted to sell most of her belongings.
At the time of purchase, it was covered with a thick layer of yellowing white paint. Later that year, I began the chore of stripping the paint. I discovered a layer of pink enamel on top of a layer of light blue enamel before reaching the worn out varnished layer. I was happy to finally reach the bare wood.
I decided against shellac or varnish for its refinishing. I stained the bare wood with a walnut stain then topped that with a Tung oil finish. Now, after 40 years of harsh use, the Tung oil finish could stand some refreshing.
The old horse figurine is actually a vintage teevee lamp from the 1950s. I cleaned it up, rewired the socket, and installed a red colored bulb to use when I need to mellow out.
On the left side is a utilitarian LED lamp from the local Target store. The light is necessary as a practicality. In the center, I’m using an old Toshiba Satellite laptop. Its operating system is Windows Vista Home Premium. I’m one of the few people who actually likes that particular OS. I suppose I’ll need to replace the Toshiba sometime soon before it crashes.
This conglomeration and collection of desk and stuff is not what I used to envision for a home office space. Years ago, the ultra-modern, clinically clean desk-nooks seen in photographs in home decorating magazines and books represented what I hoped to have for my work space. Although that look appeals to the practical, methodical part of me, it leaves the creative, human side of me cold.
Such an over-organized appearance would be difficult to work in. Where would I put my horse lamp? Would I dare bring coffee and a bowl of cereal to such a desk? The crisp, clean lines have their own elegance, but those spaces look too much like prefab corporate office work environments.
I’m not averse to the clean, efficient look. Someday, I may get tired of the old Art Deco desk and yearn for something and someplace more simple and cool. For now, I’m quite happy with such a messy desk that is all mine.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes special effects designer/fabricator, actor, educator, television personality, Adam Savage. “Of course, I love tools. I also love arranging them, to the point where I came up with a name for my organizing metric: first-order retrievability.”