Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cassy's Corner- What do You Have on Your Desk?

Cassy's Corner- What do You Have on Your Desk?

I am curious about what you keep around you when you write. This has crossed my mind because I've temporarily set up shop in Italy, first in one house, then traveling to a writer's retreat and then back to a second house. Yes, nutty, don't ask why. It has lead me to think about the essentials. This trip is all about writing as my books take place here, plus it's my second "home." But, what do you need to write?

Many would say, nothing. Just a pen and paper or a laptop. Lots of ideas. Time. No phone or Internet. Well, I have found I need a lot more. Looking around at the desk I have been using for the last four days I confess it's a mess. My mess. I'm not a "go to Starbucks" kind of gal--yes, I know many of you (guys too, Lindsay) are easily at work out in the world. Nope. Not me (or not I as my grandmother would correct). I like my cramped space with all my stuff around me. Sure I can work in an airport, a restaurant or waiting in a parking lot. But, that's not my first choice.

So, what's around me as I sit here and write this? I'll take an inventory. Beware, this is not for the queasy. How have I accumulated so much in such a short time?

- My laptop (of course).
- A thumb drive so that if my lap top disappears I have kept everything (don't laugh, it was stolen on my last trip- yeah, the thumb drive saved my a**).
- A printer/copier- I actually hauled one over with me because I am weird about having hard copy when I need it. It will stay here, so one lugging is enough.
- Two reams of paper. No, I didn't haul those, but they make me happy. Just think, when they are gone, my book is probably nearly finished!
- Four pencils. I make lots of notes and you can never have enough sharp pencils. There are two pens as well.
- A connector for my iPhone. I charge it off my computer and always need to know my husband and kids can find me. Yup, I'm here alone. Remember, this is about writing.
- My iPhone. Why have a connector without the phone?
- Multiple adapters. They are stacked up as I have to keep plugging things in and the European plugs are totally different from our American ones.
- My watch. I can't wear it when typing. The clock on my computer somehow thinks I'm in Connecticut. I have trouble adding six hours, so my watch sits next to me.
-A glass of water. I am a fiend about my water. Many of you are coffee hounds. Not I. But don't get between me and my glass of sparkling water.
- The modem. Gift of life. It is blinking rapid yellow lights telling me I can reach all of you with the stroke of a finger.
- A lamp. Gotta seeing what I'm doing.
- Various sundry of office-type stuff (paper clips, scotch tape, a highlighter, post it notes, and more than I should confess).
- A Tom Tom GPS system for the car. I get lost a lot. Something I lie about to my husband. He really knows the truth but still protects my virtue in this regard. I've never not shown up, just might have taken a longer route than necessary.
- A land line telephone, not my cell. We lose power often enough to warrant both.
- A few Kleenex's.
- Car keys and house keys. Why they are on my desk versus somewhere else, who knows. It all seems to end up here.
- Fussy notes about everything- my story, what I have to do today, who to call, what to remember, it goes on.

Gracious! There is even more I hate to admit that surrounds me. This is actually a small desk. Yet, this is my little nest. The kitchen is perfectly clean, my bedroom is tidy, there is nothing in the bathroom that looks out of place. Yet, my desk is a living and almost moving environment unto its own.

What's on your desk? What do you need to have around you? The only things I'm missing are my two dogs at my feet- traveling with them is just too complicated so they are at the doggy spa. And, of course my dear family. But then, hmmm, the writing would be cramped. Your desk? What's there?


Tonya Kappes said...

Cassy it sounds like you raided my desk. I keep all those on there plus a few muse type items for the book I'm working on.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Oh my.....when I'm in the middle of a first draft, pretty much everything is on my desk. It's a mess. I have my laptop, my notes, printed copy of various stages, pens, highlighters, pencils, tacks, paperclips, stapler, rubber bands, promo items, books, warm fingerless mittens that Barbie Jo made me, carpal tunnel wrist wrap, coaster, coffee mug, water bottle, thumb drives....the list goes on and on.

Everything is a mess until I finish, and then it's clean up time to get ready for next book.

cdpickard said...

Speaking of having stuff you rely on. I went almost into panic mode about an hour ago. My daughter and I are in Matera, Italy for a writer's retreat--well, she's retreating (already has her massage booked) and I'm writing. BUT, I couldn't log onto the Internet and my phone was dead dead dead (I forgot to turn it off ages ago). True panic. All is solved but my connection would be faster if I sent each of you a paper airplane with notes attached.

Matera is a truly unusual place. Nothing I have ever seen is like it here. We are staying at a lovely place, but it's a cave. Yup, I mean a real cave. When I booked the room I literally begged for a window.

So, right now my desk is my lap and my bed looks like my desk.

cdpickard said...

Okay, folks, the Italians have taken over my laptop. My postings are coming through as cdpickard- 'tis I, Cassy. Just so you know.

Lindsay said...

Cassy you crack me up. Only you'd forget to turn of your phone. At least this time you have your charger cord with you. Not like last fall at the conference.
Besides my laptop I got all sorts of pieces of paper. Corners of bills sticking out. Some new. SOme old.
Of course the coffee cup and yes even an ashtray. Right now I'm lucky enough not to have a cat lying on the desk thinking the computer mouse is a real mouse no matter how much I tell him it isn't. Darn kids, they never listen.
Then there are the pens, for the emergency note on the story and accompanying paper. Even treats for the boys.
Have fun over there.

Liz Lipperman said...

I'm one of those people who only need a pen and paper. Of course, it has to be a BLUE pilot point pen and the white paper has to flip over the top and not eh side. A little OCD, ya think?

Anyway, last year on a flight from Boston, I sat next to a large person who took half my seat. Sitting cramped for the nearly 4 hour flight stirred up the arthritis in the back of my knee, and it hurt to bend it. (Doc said you should always get up and move around on a long flight, so I hope you do that, Cassy.) Anyway, it hurt too much to sit at my desk with knees bent, so I started writing in my Lazy Boy recliner. You know what? Away from the temptations of the Internet and e-mail, I do so much better.

Since I am one who needs quiet, I can't be a Starbucks writer, so my chair works out well.

It is true - different strokes for different folks.

Have fun in Matera.

Rochelle Staab said...

Have fun in Italy, Cassy! Hope you get a lot of writing done.

My desk is me. I stretch out on the sofa (like I am now). Computer on top of a lapdesk on my lap. Near my feet, a notebook and pen for notes, the remote for the TV (in case I need music or atmosphere), and my cell phone. At my side is the ring binder with the "bible" for the novel I'm writing, filled with outline, character profiles, notes to self. The damn notes are the worst - they are EVERYWHERE. On tablets, in little notebooks, on scraps of paper or post-its, in my phone...

If I had to schlep all this stuff to Starbucks I'd take up two tables.

cdpickard said...

Okay, I'll add all the goodies my dogs bring to me over the day. Odd shoes, pieces of clothing that used to be called unmentionables, and occasionally the remote control.

Anita Clenney said...

If you hear's me. I've posted this twice and lost it. Okay, third time is the charm, and this time I'll copy it.

I write on a PC in my small laundry room, with a mirror on one wall that reflects the kitchen window, since the laundry room doesn't have one. I have a passion for mirrors anyway.

Needless to say, there is a washer and dryer, which can be used for extra surface space when I need it, which is frequently, since my desk gets cluttered. I have two wicker baskets with files, writing stuff, bills, and misc. I have lots of pens, pencils, and notepads, also a digital voice recorder, backscratcher, a few books. A diet soda, tea, or something to drink is always at hand. And the kitchen is only a few steps away. Not necessarily a good thing. I have a copier, but don't use it for writing since I do everything on the computer. Even editing. I use my laptop for when I'm writing away from the house. Sports practices, etc.

This space is very multi functional, and I wish I had a larger house, but I'm kind of used to the small, cozy aspect.

I hope you have a blast in Matera and get lots of writing done.

Cozy in Texas said...

Lucky you - I love Italy. My desk is a mess, books, paper, notebooks, gum, sticky notes and teeth whitening strips (not sure where they came from)

Tiffinie Helmer said...

I have pretty much everything that you guys do except the most important thing! My chocolate stash! Come on people, I can't be the only one with a hidden drawer filled with chocolate. Oh, and I have headphones to drown out the killings going on from my World of Warcraft husband.

Pete Morin said...

My desk is a holy mess. Three different pads of paper, each with some notes scribbled in no particular order. A pile of in-box mail. Two foot-high piles of books, one read, the other to-be-read. A lamp with 4 golf balls and a set of antique baby shoes (my late mother's) A desk-top iMac... oh cripes, I don't know how I manage not to f*** anything up. All I know is that I want to believe the person who said that a messy desk is a sign of true genius.