My Desk

I'm sure I've said before that I work in bed: I like to have my legs up to work and read and I also like to be able to spread my materials around me, books (usually several, open, though at the moment I'm fixated on a Scottish poet called Douglas Dunn), glasses (reading, computer), coffee (instant), snacks (unsalted baked almonds)... . In this house, in this position (on the bed, legs out), opposite me are two windows and between them my official desk, which is one of those banquet-sized, rectangular, folding plastic picnic tables people rent or buy for 'events.' It's just the right length for that stretch of wall and I ordered it from Amazon for about $50 when we moved into this place 3 years ago, as a temporary solution to the desk problem. Above it is a large c17th plan of Paris, a gift from our former landlord, a Stanford art historian who thought we should have it. 

On the desk, right to left: a printer, some black file folders, some notebooks propped up by a two volume set, orange and red, of the Webster's dictionary that I 'stole' from my parents' bookshelf about a decade ago, lying flat. On top of them a jar of pens and pencils, my backup drive (which I wear around my neck when I fly in case I have to leave my laptop behind when my plane goes down and I have to ditch); my laptop, when it's not in bed with me, a lamp (Ikea), my agenda, some stacks of stuff (books I plan to read and don't want to forget about, tax forms...) and, most important, a monitor that allows me to go back and forth between two screens when I have some proof-reading to do, but which mostly serves as a place to prop a couple touchstone postcards:


1) Chardin's still life, Le gobelet d'argent (silver timbale, three apples, a silver bowl with a spoon...); and

2) Monet's Magpie on a fence in the snow.

They are the last things I look at before I turn out the light at night.