Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A Clean Desk is the Sign of a Sick Mind



Every time I start a new book, I clean off my desk. Okay, I’m a slob, I admit it. As long as the pile on my desk is lower than the height of the two monitors sitting on the edge of said desk, I’m fine with it. Sure, it makes it a bit difficult to actually write something with a pen and paper since there’s no flat surface available but I’ve gotten good at scribbling notes on a book on top of my lap while sitting on my exercise ball. I just have to remember I can’t bounce on my ball with my legs crossed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten that while writing or looking up a word in my Oxford English Dictionary on my lap. I’m just glad that when I’ve fallen on my butt, the dog and cat were the only witnesses.

The sorry state of my desk drives my DH (dear husband or damn husband depending on my mood) absolutely nuts. He’s the type who can’t work if there’s anything on his desk. Me, I had to throw some paper around so I could write this blog. I’m telling you, it’s a sickness.

You’re probably wondering what the point of all this is. Well, I just thought I’d share what I’ve learned about myself while cleaning off my desk.

I can’t throw away Christmas cards: There are always those cards with pictures of the kids on them in cute holiday colors or sitting on Santa’s lap. I don’t want to throw them away but then what the heck do you do with them? Me, I had to give them to my husband to “put away.” He has no problem throwing things away, and though I’ll never ask what he did with them, I’m sure he tossed them in our circular file. We have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy when it comes to things like this.

I have a thing for the Levenger Catalogue—for those of you who have yet to experience Levenger, run don’t walk to Levenger.com. It's like porn for writers and serious book people. I can’t stand to part with my Levenger catalogues. I dream of buying all the wicked cool pens, the incredible bookends, and don’t even get me started on the bags, briefcases, and the paper…sigh. I gave a pile to my husband to put away, saving one at my desk in case of emergency.

I never realized it before, but I seem to collect notebooks, journals—leather bound, fabric, plastic with cool colors. I haven’t met a journal or notebook I haven’t liked and usually bought—hence the thirty or so I see on my bookshelf. The problem is that when I get them home, I don’t want to write in them—well, except for the Circa Notebooks sold by Levenger because you can refill the paper. I realize I’ve been collecting notebooks/journals since before high school and I’ve written in very few. Should I just toss them? Use them? They’re too beautiful to ruin with my horrible scribbles. I can see me leaving my kids a collection of empty journals, how dumb is that?

I also collect books. I don’t have much of a keeper shelf since there are only a handful of books I’ll ever re-read. It’s not that I don’t have books I absolutely adore, but I know those stories already and they’ll stay with me forever, so I’ve never seen a reason to re-read them. My problem is keeping books I know I’ll probably never read. I go to conferences and bring home boxes of free books and that’s without going to the actual publishers book signings. I come home and fill my bookcases, now filled with paperback lying on their sides and piled to the next shelf, two or three layers deep. With such limited reading time, I know there are books I will just never read. Still, knowing I will probably never read these books, I have a real problem parting with them. What? Am I afraid I’ll get through my TBR pile and not be able to get my hands on another book?

All I can do is thank God my DH thinks I’m wonderfully quirky. He calls me his cashew—his very expensive nut.

So what about you? What’s your desk look like? Are you a sick journal collector like me? What are some of your quirks?

17 comments:

M.V.Freeman said...

Robin,
I laughed when I read your post, I identify with it all too well. I have to confess, I love journals. All shapes and sizes. The worst part I have bits of ideas and scribblings in all. So I can't seem to get rid of them.

Of course, now I am going to go to the Levenger web site you mentioned--because I have another little quirk--I love office supplies. Unfortunately, I can't order anything until I clean my desk off (its on my list this year).

It's a vicious cycle...

Rebekah E. said...

My desk is actually a little clean today. After not being able to find my mouse without a mountian falling on me I thought it was time to do something. So yeaterday I spent most of the day filing and said to myself "I'm never going to let this happen again." Ha Ha Ha

TerriOsburn said...

My desk is not that messy and I've never heard of Levenger (about to rectify that!), but the rest is me. Can't throw things away, can't give books away even though I never re-read. I'm getting better at parting with the books, but you'd never know it by looking around my house.

For some reason, I'm extremely organized at the day job, but not at home. Home, there's mail and bills and papers (probably that needs thrown away) everywhere. I can't get it into one place and I can't get it put away. I'm good at saying "I'm going to clean that up this weekend", but I never actually do it.

Diane Kelly said...

My desk is usually covered with paperwork "to be filed when I can find a spare minute." That spare minute only comes along about once a month. It's funny, though - I only get the urge to clean when I'm under stress. The rest of the time the clutter doesn't bother me one bit! I'm off to look at the Levenger site. You may be hearing from my husband when he sees our credit card bill. ha ha!

Saranna DeWylde said...

Yep, I laughed the whole way through.

Normally, I'm kind of a clean freak. If it's not bolted down, I'll throw it away. Except where I work.

There are bits of this and that I find I MUST have at my desk. Fingernail clippers for hangnails, shells from Sanibel Island, reference books, my printer, my address books, my vitamins (because I won't take them unless they're by the laptop)candles for inspiration, something from my husband...a stuffed something, a piece of jewelry, something. And various grooming products because sometimes people see me sitting here... It drives me nuts. I try to hold my desk to the same standards to which I hold everything else, but it just doesn't happen.

MsHellion said...

OMG, I related to this blog on every level. The desk. The notebooks. The SO who thinks I'm a nut. OMG.

I hate to part with magazines. It's ridiculous. Not catalogs, but magazines. There's articles in them you know or a recipe I might use. It's ridiculous. Sometimes I cave and just start throwing them away, but usually for a very long time, they just pile. As so my notebooks, but I buy the 70 page theme books at school time and scribble in those. Never more than 10 pages each, then they lie around and take up space. it's ridiculous.

catslady said...

It's so comforting to hear about someone who I can relate to. I too collect and can't work or live in a sterile environment. I have enough books to last 2 or 3 lifetimes. I recently started donating a few to our American Legion but it's like pulling teeth. Everyone is always on my case and my husband throws things away without telling me. My 88 yr. old mother still yells at me about it lol. Of course she is the total opposite. So even though everyone says I would be happier if I got rid of everything - nope, it's not so!

debbie said...

I have a drawer full of those christmas cards with kids pictures my drawer is finally full so now I am stumped with what i will do with the next batch! I also save all my birthday and mothers day cards from the kids! I used to have a room full of books. Finally have downsized and now only have a few authors that I buy their books. The rest I borrow from the library.

Robin Kaye said...

@ Mary - A vicious cycle indeed! Those Circa notebooks are amazing because you can refill them, move pages from one notebook to another and make them in a ton of sizes. It's addictive!

Robin Kaye said...

@ Rebekah - Good luck with that! LOL

@ Terri - I was uber-organized when I had a day job. It never translated to my home and unfortunately, my office is in my home. I can't wait until I'm making enough money to buy office space away from home so I can go to work, maybe I'll be organized again. What do you think?

Robin Kaye said...

Diane - Oh please don't rat me out to your DH. I have a hard enough explaining the Levenger bills to mine! Just remind him that office supplies are tax deductible--even if they're amazingly cool!

@Saranna - I thought I was the only one who keeps her vitamins on her desk! I have hand cream, carmex, two coasters since I'm a two-handed drinker, a nail file, clippers, a bobble-headed cat, a Starbucks stuffed book mouse, a clay statue my youngest made me and a little angel statue with a Mohawk that looked just like her when she was a baby amongst other very necessary items. When I proudly showed my DH my clean desk, she shook his head and said "You call that clean?" Well, um...yeah!

Robin Kaye said...

MsHellion - I'm so with you on the recipe thing! I have a file folder full of the ones I found on my desk when I cleaned, and don't even get me started on the magazines. I'm a sick, sick puppy!

Robin Kaye said...

Catslady~ I think we married the right men, we're symbiotic. We collect, they trash...balance in all things. As for your mom, well, let's just say she doesn't know what she's missing! We should celebrate our messiness or start a 12-step program.

Robin Kaye said...

Debbie - I tried the library thing and then I found out that the library sells the old books. (shakes head) I'm a hopeless case.

Kristi said...

My work desk is spotless, my home desk ha piles of mail and catalogs sitting on it until my husband finally yells at me. I'm a piler and a book hoarder.

You know, I could take some of those books off your hands. lol

Robin Kaye said...

Kristi--email me and we'll talk! I have Nationals coming up and will undoubtedly get a ton more books...

TerriOsburn said...

You already leave home to write, Robin. And Starbucks is good about cleaning up your space for you! I say don't mess with a good thing.