Jonathan’s post reminded me that I’m always interested in the workspaces of other writers — maybe I’m just plain nosy. But I find it fascinating how some writers require a pristine desk, while others thrive amidst what appears to be chaos and clutter. I’m in the midst of a move myself, leaving my longtime apartment on East 29th Street in Manhattan for the wilds of Green-Wood Heights, Brooklyn, so I can’t show my bookshelves, which are in the process of being remorselessly culled. But I can show my desk:

Locus Magazine, Science Fiction Fantasy There you can see my printer, my keyboard and monitor, with the iconic figures of Batman and Don Quixote standing by. Framed on the wall behind is the cover of my first novel, Waking Beauty, and my MA diploma from City College.

Dangling in the upper left corner are badges from past cons, and atop the housing of my computer are more iconic figures, talismans from my personal mythology whose benign influence is not to be lightly dismissed on tough writing days.

Let’s take a closer look at this magical, motley crew:

Locus Magazine, Science Fiction Fantasy Daffy, Tintin, the Penguin, Badtz-Maru, a Skeletal Typist (the writer within), a paperweight showing a man afflicted with demons or perhaps just a guilty conscience, and the Batmobile.

You might think me a superstitious soul on the basis of this menagerie, and though I wouldn’t like to cop to it on a larger scale, I probably am, like a lot of writers, somewhat superstitious in the way that baseball players can be — once you go through a hitting slump or writer’s block, you are apt to resort to all kinds of magical thinking to avoid a repetition.

I’d love a tour of other workspaces…

3 thoughts on “Workspace

  • February 23, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Pictures–and maybe even a detailed description–of my office would probably trigger a visit from whatever city agency shows up to extract dead hermits from houses solidly packed with old newspapers and stacks of Life from the 1950s. 3-1/2 walls of a 10×12 bedroom are bookshelves filled with what was, in pre-internet days, a pretty complete SF research library, plus all the books on music and toys and the toy robots and WWI aircraft (very dusty). Plus two computers and boxes of spare parts (especially Gateway 2000 keyboards), plus off-line data in a half-dozen storage formats (several of them now obsolete), plus three desks, one expensive office chair (back pain, comma, for the avoidance of), a Baby Taylor, a litter box, and (at times) a geriatric cat or two. Interrupted projects have to be semi-packed-away to make workspace for whatever job has a closer deadline, and I’m constantly having to rediscover the hideyholes in which I’ve stashed folders and books and interview recordings and hope nothing has fallen into the litter box.

  • February 25, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Hey Paul. I cleaned up my table a little, but the cat planted himself in his usual spot, since he decided the workspace wouldn’t be complete without him. Normally Spooky would be perched on anything from some old Flash Gordon anthologies to a scattered bunch of index cards to the day’s mail.

    Since it’s not letting me embed the pic I’ll have to do it with a link.

    Yes, those are Barbies dressed as Jedi Knights on top of the right-hand bookshelf. Sith Lord Barbie is force-pushing Master Christie back, leaving Padawan Skipper to face the dark side alone.


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