This is what I like to think of as my open plan filing system in my home office. Er, part of it. MM and I share the space and he calls it a mess, but he just doesn’t understand how my system operates. “Cluttered workspace equals cluttered mind”—absolutely true, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can find anything in under 20 seconds except for the three-hole punch. I swear that damn thing grows legs and hides.
He used to keep his computer in another part of our apartment, and then he bought a desktop and wanted to use the printer, so he moved his stuff in here. He does most of his Internet surfing on his tablet and I would growl at Santa himself if he dared bother me when I’m working, so I’m usually on my own in here anyway.
Behind my computer—a POS Toshiba that I’m really looking forward to replacing in the next year or two—is a raccoon my mother knitted for me as a birthday gift. I keep it there because as trite as it sounds, it makes me smile, and it’s a piece of her art. She’s spectacular at anything that involves needles, a gift that was passed down through the women in her family (seriously, my maternal grandmother used to spin and dye her own yarn). When I was eight or nine, it was decided by the womenfolk in my family that it was high time for me to learn to crochet, sew, knit, and cross-stitch, and crochet/sew/knit/cross-stitch I attempted. I’m actually pretty good at crocheting, I can put together a garment from a two-hour Simplicity pattern in only four, and if the cross-stitch pattern is small and only uses three colours I can do that, too. However, I can’t knit for shit, and of course it’s the skill I would find the most useful. I admire my mother’s talent, and wish I had inherited it.
There are a few things on the wall that have been there since I moved here nine years ago, and it’s been so long that I can’t really remember why I put them up. That US $1 bill, for example? I don’t know why it’s taped to the wall, and I have no way of asking my 21-year-old self what it’s doing there. I think it may have become one with the wall, to be honest. MM is responsible for the Q107 poster; it’s his favourite radio station.
The bookcase is a disaster. I have three others at my disposal—two in the office opposite my work table and one in the living room—and they’re actually full of books and journals. As I don’t have a proper desk with drawers, the stuff that tends to find a home in desk drawers is stacked on this bookcase: Royalty statements, dictionary and thesaurus, software manuals, boxes of envelopes, art supplies and books, CDs (Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Pulp, and Frank Black), and a Sankyo Movimat camera my sister found in a friend’s basement and gifted me.
The paperback proof copy of Celestial Chaos is there purely coincidentally. Supernova’s proof is on a pile of books and binders holding other first drafts on a small stand under the table.
There’s a full-length mirror beside the bookcase, and it’s not fully included in the frame because I didn’t want to turn this into an excuse for a selfie—trés tacky, plus my hair is frizzy and I’m presently wearing an ugly pair of pants that should be burned before they’re seen in public. I don’t remember how the mirror came to be in my office. I don’t apply makeup when I’m writing, I can’t see it unless I turn my head and look behind me because I pull myself up as close as possible to the edge of the table when I’m on the computer, plus it’s really warped. I’ve had it since I was in junior high, and it’s covered in stickers from over the years (ranging from fuzzy animals to freebies from Vice and local shops), little notes are stuck in the frame, and I wrote a few things on it in lipstick when I was in my late teens that are now ossified into the glass: Dylan Thomas quotes mostly, because I really loved his poetry at that age, when I thought it was cool to write on mirrors. I also remember scrawling “Writing is a motherfucker” on it in black lipstick when I was 17 or 18 and then having to wipe it off. Hardcore, amirite? (I’m rolling my eyes, too). I still use it as a makeshift bulletin board, anyway, and I cleared a bunch of stuff off the TV tray in front of it to include it.
…And that’s where the three-hole punch was hiding this time.