Thursday, December 2, 2010

What's on my desk?

This is picture of my desk at eight fifty one this morning. You can tell that from the clock on the right. And if you were especially sharp you'd notice it isn't really a clock at all, but an Ipod touch 3G. You might also notice that I have a BT home-hub, a flashy Apple Mac computer and a Blackberry (switched off) on top of my brown leather wallet.

You might register that the desk is old, with a leather top - and that the windows are leaded with stone mullions. Outside there is scaffolding, so the roofers have not finished; it is winter - and do you see the fat wood pigeon on the snow beneath the birch tree?

That's not all the picture can tell you about me. On the screen is a blog I follow. There is a book of birds, another of moths, and the Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes; some of my writing underneath. Towards the back of the desk are my banjo picks, a watch (not trendy), fifteen pounds in notes, an electric razor, a magnifying glass, a bottle of drawing ink...

It was my my art teacher who taught me how a still life can tell a story. I once did a painting of a handbag with its contents spilled onto the floor: shopping list, rent book, a broken doll, tranquillisers. Painters have long used symbolism to add to the narrative; skulls to indicate death, snakes for wisdom, swans for love and fidelity. It is rare to do this now, but at one time very particular emotions could be represented by say flowers or fans. Well into last century painters such as Rene Magritte and Gustav Klimt used symbols extensively.

And what might Hercule Poirot deduce from my desk - the razor is unused, the watch indicates middle age, the date on the screen, the names of my folders? Before I know it, I'd be found out for staying home when I might have made more effort to go to the office!

This reminds me of a game we played as children; we called it 'murder clues' and the idea was to leave no trace of your presence - in case you happened to kill someone later that day! Forty years later, if my boys leave a wrapper or a yogurt pot, I still find myself saying, pick it up; might be a murder clue.

Leaving behind that less than cheery note, I wonder what is on your desk? Many bloggers don't like showing their face, but maybe their desk would reveal more. Does it say enough, or too much for comfort? Perhaps you will post a picture for us all to see?


  1. I like this post. It appeals to the nosy parker in me and I like the idea of making a picture of the person from it.
    I would love my desk to be facing a window.
    Not sure if I want to take a picture of this desk today,.... It's a bit of a mess at the moment.

  2. How do I send a picture on the comment form?

    Echo Kath...dust!

    Your murder clues remind me that Mr. Fly's father used to discourage his sons from being tattooed..not it seems that either was so inclined... saying that it would make life too easy for the police if ever they committed a crime!

  3. You know I may have to respond to this with a picture of my own desk... I've often thought of doing it but it never seems to happen.

  4. Yup...dust...a few Christmas Cd's I just found, a huge pile of filing...about a years worth, and two cookbooks among other things. I'd be ashamed to show anyone this mess. ))))..opps..just found a necklace I've been looking for..that's good!!

  5. Good post! I started out blogging, before I went public, just listing the varying objects on my desk. Interesting; I hadn't realized how much it changed from day to day.

    Here's my desk, as it was at the time I read this blog.

    The list: laptop, screen, mouse, wires. Air cleaner. The laptop sits on a kitchen rack to keep it cool. Two flexible desk lamps. (Two for decent lighting of tiny beasties) A canning jar containing 4 leaf-footed bugs and fresh evergreen tips for their food, standing on an antique Chinese plate. A piece of vertebra that appealed to me. A doughnut for a sore elbow. Coffee and my morning pills.
    On the left, a shoe rack turned desk shelf, modem, spare hard drive, clock, cell phone. 5 vintage metal trays from hospitals and photographic supplies (Kodak); one is an In-box, full of stuff to deal with, one holds tiny plastic containers for bugs, one has assorted small tools; the other two are catch-alls. A vintage ink bottle, antique Chinese ink well, modern pottery with a feather in the top. Old, strange, horn covered with aluminum, serving as a pen holder. Antique Chinese paper knife. Vintage dime bank, holds $5. Blooming Christmas cactus.

    Hanging on outside; a perennial calendar, back scratcher, and magnifying lens.

    On the wall, two poems Laurie wrote me.

    Curtains closed because it's 6:54 AM and it's still pitch black outside. I see I need to wash those curtains. Or chuck them entirely.

    Old computer and basket under the desk.

    By now, it's 7:45, the coffee is finished, and the morning is breaking outside, grey and wet-looking. Time to open the curtains.

  6. I think anyone looking at my desk would be in awe. "How can she possibly function as well as she does, given that chaos?" they would say...

  7. Too many parallels :-)

  8. When I sit at my desk, I can't actually see it under the layers of paper, books, wires, and every other thing that I drop in my hurry to start writing. It's amazing what turns up when I clear it about once a year.

  9. What a tidy desk - did you sort it out before you took the picture? I'm on a piddly little thing now - no room for clutter on this surface. Let's hope one day hence I will be back on a normal size desk.

  10. crikey, real modern stuff. And i've only just mastered the light switch!

  11. Well I can't post a pic here so I may do a wee blog on this in the near future. Might have to tidy up first.....that's cheating though isn't it?

  12. I was guided here by Cait, and I just love this post. I think that is the best way to get older kids to pick up that I've ever heard! Very, very funny, and I'll bet it is effective. I have two desks in two different rooms. One has just the computer, printer, and a lamp. The other is my writing/bill paying desk.