Friday, April 24, 2020

You Say Clutter, I Say Curated Collection

Show us where you work! Please share a photo of your work/writing space, and tell us why it looks the way it does!

by Paul D. Marks

Not a current pic, but pretty close to what it is today. (The main changes
are that neither animal, Curley/cat, Pepper/dog, are with us anymore.)
I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours. And I have to admit I do like looking at other writers’ offices. Some are neat, some not so much. Some are big, some small. But whatever they’re like it’s always interesting to see where other writers create their magic.

I look at clean, almost sterile offices and rooms and I envy them. I want to be that way. I vow to be that way. But I will never be that way. My office is a mess, my desk is cluttered. I could have cleaned it up for the photo but why try to pretend it’s (I’m) something it’s not.

I am a note writer (yellow stickies were invented for me!), a saver, a packrat. Though maybe not as bad as some of those people who have thirty years of newspapers piled up throughout their houses and can barely make their way through the passages between them. Like the infamous Collyer brothers of New York, who died under their piles of their “treasures”:

The Collyer Bros. apartment. Uh, even we're not this bad ;-)

We’re always trying to declutter around here. And I admit, I’m the packrat, not Amy. I save everything, well almost everything. I’ve finally stopped saving (most) empty boxes ’cause you never know when they might come in handy. Somehow I’ve survived the withdrawal from that. But it wasn’t easy… I had to go to Boxaholics Anonymous.

Here’s the thing about the office. It might be a mess…but I know where things are. When I need something I generally know where to find it. If I put it away in a drawer or file cabinet, well, it’s out of sight, out of mind, out of memory. And it usually takes me forever to find it again. It’s like that scene in The Man on the Flying Trapeze, where W.C. Fields’ desk is a mountain of mess, but he knows just where to find every piece of paper. Check out this clip from the movie, but the part where he goes to his desk is 3:49 minutes in:

And I like having things within reach. I still keep certain books (like a slang thesaurus and a guide to baby names) within reach, even though I might reach for them less now that I can look up stuff on the internet. I guess I like to have them there as a security blanket. And hey if the internet goes out I’ll need them.

My Hopper flips the bird pic, from Easy Rider.

Specifically as relates to my office, there are things I like: a handful of toy soldiers, my pic of Dennis Hopper flipping the bird from Easy Rider, lobby cards, Beatles (and other) album covers, photos of Keith Richards, Ray Davies, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger that my brother took, and my old Underwood typewriter.

The pix that my brother took.

My one saving grace in this regard are all the articles that have come out recently that talk about people with messy desks being more intelligent. This is a huge relief. And I, therefore, declare my genius.

I’d love to see pictures of your offices. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can leave them here in the comments. But you can on my Facebook page. Go to my timeline and the post that announces this blog and put pix of your office in the comments if you want to:  -- or on my Twitter feed: @PaulDMarks


And now for the usual BSP:

Frank Zafiro grilled me for the Wrong Place, Write Crime podcast. I survived...and so did he. Hope you'll want to check it out. (And thanks for having me, Frank!)

Coming June 1st from Down & Out Books – The Blues Don't Care:

 “Paul D. Marks finds new gold in 40s’ L.A. noir while exploring prejudices in race, culture, and sexual identity. He is one helluva writer.”
                                                               —Michael Sears, author of the Jason Stafford series

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GBPool said...

I don't call it clutter. I call it organized chaos. That's the way I work, too. As for decluttering, I think I threw away a piece if paper once.

Paul D. Marks said...

You've got me beat, Gayle. I don't think I've ever thrown away a piece of paper. At least not willingly. But Amy might have snuck some by me into the trash can. She even made me throw out my famous brick from the MGM backlot. That was tragic. -- And yes, it's organized chaos. The only way to fly :-) .

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I occasionally de-clutter, but like you, I know where things are. So organized chaos for me as well.

Anonymous said...

When I worked in offices my desk was cluttered throughout the day, but I straightened it up before I went home. Working from home, my office stays cluttered. Like you, Paul, I can find everything.

Paul D. Marks said...

Organized chaos is the only way, Jacqueline. Like W.C. Fields. Hope you’re doing well during all this.

Paul D. Marks said...

As long as you can find everything, Maggie. That’s really all that matters. And I hope you’re staying well, too.

Debby Obinna said...

I think it looks very organized. This photo is also a pleasant memory.
I remember watching that clip/movie where the piece of paper was found according to years.
I finally got some filling cabinets and for the life of me, I cannot find what I need when I need it. Even though everything is labeled. I swear I'm going back to the right way of organizing.
Nice article.

Susan C Shea said...

Well, it's not so bad, but where are the books? Your own and the thousands of books by other writers you must own.