Today is the day after a monumental event. A process-changing thing happened to me yesterday, and I couldn’t be happier to share the news of my new addition with the world.
I’ve talked before about the importance of place and space in building better juju when writing — hell, being any sort of creative, really. I’ve shown you my sanctuary before too. My office, my lair, my hoard, my cabinet of curiosities — is a very special place to me. It’s where I spend an awful lot of time.
My morning ritual usually involves staggering out of bed, smashing the button on the coffee maker to make the fuel come out, showering in a daze, throwing on some clothes, and flopping into the chair in front of my desk, bleary-eyed and angry at the world for being roused from slumber. It’s barely eight a.m. at that point, and I’ve got a journal open in front of me, and a fountain pen in hand, and I’m scribbling my Mourning Pages in the glow of my desk lamps.
I start my day in that room, and I end my day in it too — usually while doodling, painting, setting up a new layout in my Bullet Journal, or (gasp) actually writing fiction. I could sit at the kitchen island and do this stuff. I could lock myself away in the Nerd Room (which doubles as my craft room when I’m sewing, and our Dinner & Dungeons & Dragons room when we have friends over) but neither are explicitly my space.
My space is a killing floor where characters die. My space is where both good things and bad things happen in fiction, and is so suffused with creative good vibes that I yearn for it when I’m away too long, and my desk, in particular, is the centrepiece of a ritual of sitting down and making worlds, playing the creatrix, playing the devil. It’s a place of hard work. Lumbering constellations and dying galaxies and slumbering gods.
It is… precious to me.
On the topic of the desk
I had a desk. It was a desk I’d owned for several years. It was a good desk inasmuch as it did the job desks are supposed to do, and yet, I hated the desk.
The desk was bought as a replacement for a lovely, large L-shape that I’d owned throughout my college years. It had been enormous, and hulking, and black — I’d written my first fanfictions at it, and designed several excellent products that still hold places of esteem in my design portfolio. Good memories were had with that desk. Good work was done while seated at it. I left it behind because it was too large for my first apartment.
The second desk — a tiny thing laminated in fake beechwood — was acquired to accommodate a much smaller space in a much smaller apartment in which I spent a handful of sad years, unhappy with my job, and not producing much written work. It was the first time on my own, and though I was in a relationship, I was lonely. I was unhappy with the direction my life was taking, and I didn’t understand why until much later:
I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t making art.
I’d ground to a creative halt, and whenever I’d glance in the direction of the desk, it became a constant reminder of my personal failures.
If you could imbue a piece of furniture with bad magic, I was doing it.
New apartment, same old desk
When I moved to a bigger space, I took the desk with me. Shoved it into a corner of my living room where the sunshine lit the back of my chair, and dropped my laptop on it. I dumped that guy I’d been seeing, and my professional life was on an uptick. I started writing again — across the room, as far away from that piece of furniture as possible, while sitting on the chaise lounge on the couch.
I started making stuff again. I started getting comfortable. I completed the first draft of a manuscript and celebrated. I eased my laptop back onto the desktop one day, sat on the chair, and started the long process of working the bad juju out of the surface wherever my hands touched it by doing good things — productive things — in its proximity. Not writing. Just design. My writing lived in a separate sphere from my professional life, and like peas next to mashed potatoes on a plate, I didn’t want the two things to touch just yet. I hadn’t matured to the point where it was okay to smoosh my foods together.
I hated the desk less, but like certain objects that have power conferred to them by their owners, it was still tainted. Though it sat in the sunshine, it still had a cast of shadow from previous years where I’d been in a dark place. I let the sun bleach the surface of that laminate motherfucker, and it still never got out the memory of where it sat when I was slowly trying to drown out my inability to act on the things I wanted.
The desk’s final long hours
When Tibbers and I moved in together last year, the old beast came with me like a ball and chain. This time, I had an office that I filled like a wunderkammer with as much creepy crap as I could cram in. With moving expenses and having to buy necessary furniture to make the space work, I’d done a little meandering research, hoping to find something to replace it. I had a bit more space, and I wanted. I wanted. But I didn’t have the spare funds when I finally found.
You know what that feels like? It’s like you can smell it on the breeze rolling in with the cross-draft: change.
Of course the damnable thing was out of my price range. Of course. Because Pottery Barn and converting US to CAD is insane. Didn’t care. Did. Not. Care.
“MINE” was written all over it. “MY PRECIOUS,” I whispered fervently, propped up next to Tibbers in bed and staring wide-eyed at the screen of my phone, looking at this thing in all its majesty and grandeur.
I’m yours, it whispered to me.
So I started an ASP and began saving. It took about six months of shuffling my finances around to make it happen, and then a further three weeks waiting for the pieces to be shipped from someplace in the southern United States.
We hauled the old desk out of my office two nights ago, and I vacuumed, and I mopped, and I exorcised whatever residual bad karma might’ve been lingering in its wake. I took all of my arts and paints and markers and paper craft and notebooks and placed them lovingly in laundry baskets and shuffled all of it out into the hall to wait for their new home to arrive.
Yesterday, Bartholomew arrived
The delivery men hauled a box that was very nearly the size of a fridge up two flights of stairs, unwrapping and assembling this gargantuan keyhole desk with its brass fixtures for me in the place of esteem I’d cleared for it in the place of the old desk, in my office, on the wall where the watchful eyes of the Neverafter characters stare down at me.
The delivery men appreciated said character wall, remarking that one of the photographic inspirations for Graves from his first life was actually a photograph of Mihai Eminescu — a romantic poety of Romanian descent. I’ve since added him to my TBR, but knowing how weepy I get when I attempt to read Yeats, I’m not sure when I’ll get around to it.
I’ve christened the desk Bartholomew, not for anyone in particular, though my inclination is to refer to the desk as a her and not a him, anyway. Bartholomew doesn’t care, so long as I spent the appropriate amount of time with her each day.
I’m absurdly happy about her, even if she demands the blood sacrifice of a few more characters.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.