I bought a new desk. Some of you reading this will understand the magnitude of this transaction. I recently did a little rearranging in my writing space, which involved moving my desktop computer upstairs, clearing out some clutter, and a general cozying of the little room where I spend a good portion of my time. Knowing my creative self needs this to be a place I want to be for hours on end, I carefully curated the books, pens, notebooks, candle, chair, blanket, photos, and lighting, which I have deemed necessary for making me feel the way I want to feel in this room.
I brought my old desk up from my studio in the basement and knew immediately it wasn't going to work in my writing space. It was too big, too unstable, and frankly, looked awful in the room. I wasn't crazy about the idea of spending money on a new desk, but decided my recent royalty check of $28.82 might be well-spent on this new item. Yep, you read that right. Moving on... I also had some money sitting in my Amazon account, courtesy of a gift from my dear friend, E. A songwriter herself, I knew E would find great joy in knowing her gift had been used on this purchase, so I began perusing for the perfect desk.
Eventually, I found something I thought would look great and serve me well. The right shade of wood-grained top. Black metal legs. A small, removable stand, identical to the desk itself, which I could use to prop up my iPad for Zoom meetings. A storage unit that attaches to the end of the desk, perfect for stashing a legal pad, a few papers, and anything else I needed within arms reach but didn't want lying on top of the desk. Best of all, it was only $64. I placed my order and waited. Two days later, the desk arrived and I asked my poor husband to put it together immediately, even though he had arrived home late after a long work event. Perry, being the nicest person on the planet, which everyone knows and frequently reminds me of, obliged and assembled it quickly.
When it came time to move the desk into my writing room, I did something I have never done before. I pulled the desk out from the wall, far enough to where I could barely squeeze my chair in, with enough room to comfortably swivel. Now, instead of coming in to this room, sitting down and facing a wall, doing my best to stay focused on the task at hand, I would be able to walk in, sit down, and face the window. Having come in to this space frequently over the past couple of weeks, I cannot being to tell you what a difference this had made. I understand this might seem silly to some of you, but let me explain.
I am a strange mix of desperate creative and self-imposed taskmaster. Those left-brain, right-brain tests? Yeah, my results come out 50-50 on every one. When it comes to writing, I love everything about the creative process and live for those moments when something new stirs inside me and I find a way to unleash it as a song or other creative work. I am also a person who likes to put her head down, block out the world, and do whatever is necessary to get the work done and cross things off my list. I understand how those parts of me can co-exist, but I also know I can easily settle into "do the work" mode and in doing so, limit my ability to notice, dream, and feel. My friend L, regularly tells me I have deeper places to go in my writing. I am trying to go to those places, but I think that requires something of me I haven't quite had the resources for. Up until now, that is. Life has now given me time, space, and hopefully soon, the energy to go new places in my writing. Some deeper, some farther.
Which brings me back to the placement of my desk. From where I sit in my little room, I can now lift my eyes and stare out the window. I can allow myself to be distracted by my beloved cornfield just beyond our back fence. I can watch cotton ball clouds float across a blue sky and get lost in wondering. My world just got bigger, simply by choosing to face the window instead of the wall. I still have my list in front of me. I still want to be productive. I still want to get to the end of the day or the week and know I've used my time well. But how much more will there be to write about, now that I've given myself a broader view? How much deeper is the well of ideas, now that my brain isn't blocked by taupe-colored drywall?
What if we all turned our "desks" around to "face the window?" Could it be we'd all find new ways to unleash the beautiful things that begin to stir in our hearts? Maybe we would sit with the sunlight finally shining on our faces, warming our skin and brightening away the temptation to simply accomplish something. Or maybe we'd all have days like I'm having today, when I've opened the window so I can hear the rain fall even though it's 55 degrees, let a space heater warm my feet, and allowed myself a few hours in this space where I can get lost in an idea.
I think we can all get there. To that place where we have a broader view of the world. It might take stepping away from our to-do lists and allowing ourselves time to feel. It might take hopping off our soapboxes so we can be at eye-level with people who think differently than we do. It might take clearing our schedules or trying new things or getting off social media (which is NOT a healthy view of the world, by the way). Or it might just take a little moving of the furniture. Trust me, choosing to face the window can make all the difference.