I have never been a big fan of desks. Even as a first-grader when I made the transition from shared table to independent desk, I don’t recall an overwhelming sense of excitement. (I was more excited for the milestone of getting to use the cafeteria and getting no-bake cookies once a week. Go figure.) The truth is I’m terrible with drawers and nooks. I stuff them with anything within a five-inch radius.
I do, however, like tables. I like the idea of a big, flat, central space where life comes to a rest. Having lived in countless “cozy” (that’s rental-listings-code for tiny) apartments, I never had the space for a dedicated office in a separate room. Instead I grew accustomed to, and even fond of, carving out a work area in the middle of everything. (You could sit me down in the middle of Grand Central during rush hour and I suspect I could emerge an hour later with content—though, conversely, I can’t get down a bloody word in a coffee shop; I blame the distracting smells of beans and baked goods.)
Which is probably why for the last two years, my office has been one end of the beautiful cherry dining table that my husband made. While there are many days I look over at our table and feel very guilty for covering its beautiful surface, I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. As the picture shows, it doesn’t hurt that I have—most days—great light, easy access to coffee refills, and perfect views of bird visitors (hence, the nearby copy of Sibley’s Guide for identification). I love music when I write, but mostly when it is only instrumental. Sadly our CD changer is on the fritz so I often find myself having to get up because of maniacal skipping, but I can’t bear to replace it. (I tell myself the frequent up-and-downs keep the creative juices flowing and, in some alternate universe, make up for missed trips to the gym.)
Of course, writing where you eat can have its downside. Some nights, between my husband working on his teaching lectures and me writing, our table looks more like an air-traffic control room than a dining area. But I’ve found it helps me to close up shop at the end of the day and move the computer into the other room. Sort of like putting up a Murphy bed in the morning. My way of “leaving the office.”
So what about you all? Desk, table? Coffee shop or train station? Gym or CD changers?