by Merry Gordon
My desk is a mess.
My desk is a mess.
I've always been envious of famous authors' writing spaces. Maybe it's because my writing is almost never done at my desk (‘cluttered’ is my euphemism of choice, but if we’re being honest I could headline Hoarders). When I write, I curl into piles of unfolded laundry with a laptop balanced precariously on my knees, trying to ignore the sticky fingerprints on the screen, or I throw a towel around me, scribbling my best shower ideas on Post-Its with my children’s stubby crayons.
But I've seen where the magic happens.
I spent part of one glorious summer in Wales, a stone’s throw from Dylan Thomas’s home on the Taf estuary. Tucked into a shed overlooking his “heron priested shore,” he wrote (and drank) himself into immortality here. The place is incredible only in its ordinariness. It’s been lovingly restored—crumpled paper, cigarette butts and all. Picturing the addiction-riddled genius writing in this space, raging against the dying of the gentle Carmarthenshire light, is easy. I think of my own desk, heaped with receipts and books and half-empty water bottles, and feel better.
Writers write in hovels, and sacred spaces, and sometimes they are one and the same.
Can you guess these famous writing spaces? The correct answers will be in the comments below.
1) "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
2) "I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word."
3) "What should I do with your strong, manly, spirited sketches, full of variety and glow? How could I possibly join them on to the little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I work with so fine a brush, as produces little effect after much labour?"
4) "You have to resign yourself to wasting lots of trees before you write anything really good."
5) "I'm just going to write because I cannot help it."