It’s the kind of desk I thought I’d have when I figured everything out. It’s a desk I’ve been waiting to earn.
I love desks. I love the spaces we make to be our best, most creative selves. I love how intimate and revealing those spaces can be. I’ve loved seeing tiny glimpses into some of my favorite writers’ lives throughout this series, and I was delighted to contribute one of my own. And yet.
When I sat down at my desk to write this, I found myself staring blankly at the screen. What was there to say about this space? What is there to say about the work I do here? What is the work I do here?
In the last year I’ve gone from working full-time in academia, writing and podcasting on the side, to working full-time in social media. I still write and podcast—I do more of both now that I don’t have a whole separate part of my brain dedicated to spreadsheets for student registration and financial holds and ordering textbooks. In a lot of ways, this year clarified the work I want to be doing, and the fact that I want to be writing and creating—that it is and has always been the thing that feeds me. And yet.
I came downstairs for lunch and told my best friend that I had been having conversations about new writing assignments all week. My expression and/or tone must have conveyed the fact that I was rather puzzled by this, because she set her empty coffee mug on the counter—not in the dishwasher, not in the sink, just . . . on the counter—and said: “It’s like you forget you are a writer? You write things all the time, and yet you are always so surprised when people want you to like, write things for them.”
“Well, it’s not like I—” I muttered, nudging her out of the way. I picked up the mug and set in the dishwasher where it belonged, then wiped down the counter where the crumbs from her bagel lingered. She looked at me, one eyebrow raised, daring me to finish my sentence, like she knew it was going to end with me saying: “It’s not like I am really a writer.”
I sighed. I sat at my desk. I looked around. I started writing.
I love this big desk that is almost certainly a dining room table that someone I live with found at some point and dragged home. I love that it’s tucked between all these windows; that there is all this light. I mostly use the headphones for podcasting, but I put on a movie score and pull them out when I’m working on something that needs all my attention. The mic and pop filter have a proper home somewhere else, but 98 percent of the time they end up tucked underneath my desktop, just waiting for the next time I record.
There’s hand lotion to battle the constant dry hands, Post-its to write endless reminders to myself—usually, the bottom of my computer is full of them. A water bottle I sometimes remember to drink out of, a vase of fake daisies tucked behind the ring light that my constantly made-up face needs to be at her best. Jennifer Plantison is a real snake plant, a gift from my days in academia. She survived the six months I left her in my old office; she’s a fighter and an inspiration. There is a cup of pens and markers because I am a handwritten to-do list person, and a timer for when I really need to buckle down. Washi tape because it’s pretty, and I desperately want to be a person who uses it, but it’s been years and it has yet to happen. A rotating selection of lipsticks, because, honestly, I’m rather vain, and I don’t want to be caught in a surprise video call with a full face of makeup and no lip.
It’s the kind of desk I thought I’d have when I figured everything out—when I knew exactly who I was, and what I wanted to do. It feels like a desk for grown-ups; for adults who can say, “Me? I’m a writer,” without shifting uneasily and looking down. It’s a desk I’ve been waiting to earn, it’s a desk that makes me feel like I skipped too many steps and have arrived here unprepared. And yet.
It’s my desk. It’s where I write.
Christina Tucker is a writer and podcaster living in Philadelphia. Her work can be seen online with Autostraddle, Teen Vogue, The Boston Globe, and more.