An impossible convergence of the tidy and the disheveled, I sit in an almost ironically retro office chair from the 70s—I don’t want to admit it, but this hideous faded tiger-orange cushion-covered chair that I scavenged from the transfer site has grown on me.
I look up momentarily to see the week-long white-board calendar that I have tacked up on my log-cabin wall; it always seems to be at best, a week behind schedule—much like my often abandoned planner that I have stuck in one of these drawers. In the same spirit of my wandering mind, my desk does its best to emulate me. The conventionally unconventional, my desk lamp is clamped to a shallow natural wooden crate that acts as a bookshelf for whatever project I happen to be working on at the time. With an unfortunate lack of natural lighting coming through the windows, even on the brightest Alaskan days, this cozy little cabin is downright dark and brooding on the inside. The shadows seem to favor the cracked, creviced, and chafed charade of my veneered plywood desk that looks outright vintage notwithstanding the revealing spotlight of my lamp.
I prop my feet up to stretch out, but the compounding gravity on my spine always causes sharp pains to radiate all the way down to my tail-bone. I suppose that’s the price you pay when you work sitting down. My partner is sitting next to me watching a western on PlutoTV and I wonder if I happen to have incredible hearing, or if the television is loud enough to filter in over Unwell, a Midwestern Gothic Mystery. This is one of the many podcasts that I listen to when I’m preparing myself to write, it’s the unsung revival of radio theater and horror that gets my gears turning. I spend most of my life sitting at this desk, it’s my comfort destination and also my place of work; all of it happens in this 6’x4’ space in my dry cabin.
This space houses an eclectic selection of things—the repurposed beef jerky container that has been filled with granola for my compulsive snacking. The toothbrush that I have sitting next to my lamp—admittedly there, so I don’t forget to brush my teeth before I fall face-first into my mattress. My selection of loose leaf teas and a bottle of honey sit on my bookshelf to my right, waiting for that horrible moment when I realize that I already finished my tea and need to brew another cup. Then there is a bottle of hand lotion and efficascent oil so tired hands may have a momentary reprieve from their restless tippy-tap-tap-tapping and so that old stiff joints and muscles can find some relief. My pencil cup is a ridiculous display that overflows with pens, pencils, sharpies—some of those probably don’t even work anymore—and a pair of dull scissors. I’ve got my recording equipment ready to set up within five minutes to record podcasts, while my Wacom tablet sits somewhat ignored next to my waterfall of pens.
I suspect that there is a better way of organizing, perhaps a way to steadily increase my work-flow, but who knows? I admire the minimalist but have never benefited from it myself. Instead, my space looks chaotic at best, but it is in its perfect state, because everything has its place.
Mary has been a writer and artist for over a decade. Her passions lie somewhere between the beautiful and the macabre—as a horror enthusiast she regularly