Is a picture worth a thousand words? This one, sadly, is worth very few, at least not the kind of words I’d like to be generating. Incredibly, the photo has the effect, at least to me, of making the desk appear less chaotic than it is in real life. The piles look smaller some how, and less likely to topple and swamp all in their path.
If you knew what you were looking at here, you would be able to recognise:
* Pile #1: the marking pile from hell. This pile has curious magic pudding-like qualities, something I would applaud in any other context
* the slanty writing board which makes working my way through Pile #1 marginally less painful (at least physically).
* Pile #2: the copyediting job from hell, “almost finished” for about five weeks now.
* a Japanese-English dictionary I’m using in some ongoing translation work (from 地獄). There should be a pile for this job, too, and its absence is worrying…
* Pile #3: the accounting for my husband’s business (I’d add “from hell” here, but this is mostly what pays our bills).
* Pile #4: book trailer notes and resources from an ASA/writingWA workshop I did over the last few weeks. Now I just have to finish the actual trailer and upload it somewhere other than my desk.
* Pile #5: clippings and plans and brochures and catalogues and a random block of wood, all relating to the house extension we are planning for early next year and which is definitely going to do my head in at some point. Are there people out there who really care about tiles? Yesterday, I had to choose what colour grout we wanted. I’m sorry, but “want” and “grout colour” simply do not belong in the same sentence.
* Pile #6: bills and bank statements and phone numbers of people I should have called last week and to-do lists dating back to July.
* the blue lunchbox in which I am gathering school supplies for next year (am determined this time to do a sweep of every cranny in the house rather than rushing out at the last minute to buy new stuff only to discover we already have six packs of everything buried in the chaos)
* a calendar stuck on May (part wishful thinking, part not wanting to clamber onto the desk with my increasingly dodgy back).
* notes from my daughter’s school inviting me to help at Big Week Out, the dinner dance, the canteen, and the library, as well as donate to the raffle and come along to the Edu Dance concert, cabaret, choir performance, dinner dance, volunteers ‘thank-you’ morning tea, and Christmas assembly. In my free time.
* copies of various books I’m supposed to be reading for different reasons, most of which have been lost in the mists of time.
* an Ikea catalogue with the strapline “The Organised Home”.
* the very corner of my sewing pile, beginning with the soccer shirt I should have had ready for last Friday (“luckily” my daughter was too sick to play).
* an empty vase. I like minimalism. Also, air is easy to look after and doesn’t dry out, drop its leaves everywhere, then slowly rot, and stare accusingly at you for weeks every time you sit down.
* a monitor, sans computer. The laptop is elsewhere, on the kitchen table, whence I have decamped, in flight from the various piles.
* somewhere in there is a single leaf – perfectly round and flat – which I happen upon at various intervals while hunting frantically through piles, and which makes me stop, smile, and say ‘ah!’, and remember that one day, there will be time for things that just are, for no good reason.
And perhaps the time of the writing desk will come again.