Monday, August 11, 2014

Tidying the Desk

I’ve just tidied my desk. We’re going away on holiday and as I closed down my work files I actually looked at it and was shamed.

It’s quite a novelty to see the surface. Glass, hmm? I’d almost forgotten. It looks good now – well, respectable anyway, with three neat piles of papers, all the pens collected in mugs, the notebooks in a stack, the scraps of paper I jot down ideas on neatly stashed away in the Tiffany box I keep for the purpose.

But I know perfectly well that when I come back to work again the fine state of order won’t last. Not only that, I don’t want it to. With a neat, tidy desk I feel rather the way Piglet felt when Kanga forcibly gave him a bath: he wasn’t happy until he’d rolled down the hill and got back to his comfortably grubby color again.

For the years when I worked at the kitchen table, or in a corner of the bedroom, I always blamed that for my untidiness. When I had a study of my own, and a place to put things, I claimed, it would all be different.

Now I do, and it isn’t. Like hens, I’m happier deep litter, with all the bits of paper around me and readily to hand. I do admit it may take me time to find what I want but the only time I really lose things is when I’ve made an effort to tidy them away. I guarantee I’ll be scrabbling around for stuff when I get back, after this latest bout of virtue.

I know one very successful writer who not only has to have her desk tidy, she can’t begin to write until she knows that the cushions in the sitting-room are lined up on the sofa.

Maybe that’s the secret. In which case, I’m doomed.

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