I seem to recall a blog meme that went around earlier this year or last in which bloggers were supposed to post photos of their workspace. This post was prompted however by some photos of his studio space that Clive Hicks-Jenkins put up on his Artblog. Now of course an artist’s studio is bound to be more interesting than a writer’s desk, but I thought Clive’s posts gave a real glimpse into his work habits and personality. In fact, I have to say I was a little frightened by the abundant evidence of a rage for order (though Clive claims in the comments that his studio isn’t always quite so neat). Because, as you can see, I’m a bit of a slob.
Also, yes, I do dress like a homeless man. But I figured these would be really boring photos if I didn’t put myself in them (thanks to a cheap-ass tripod and my camera’s ten-second timer). Objects of note in the first photo include a balsam pillow handmade by my hiking buddy L. from a recycled men’s shirt and stuffed with needles collected on one of our trips to the Adirondacks; a plaster bust of Chopin wearing a turban; an old Pennsylvania Railroad kerosene lantern which I use during prolonged power outages; about half of my fiction collection; a view of the kitchen; and a coat rack I made from a dead pitch pine. The dark object in the foreground is the shoulder pack for my cameras.
This photo looks a little weird because I played with the light levels. The room has lots of natural light — from my swivel chair I have a view of the outdoors in all four directions — but it was kind of an overcast day.
This is starting to seem like a self-indulgent, even narcissistic exercise (thought somehow it didn’t when Clive did it). But what strikes me about this photo is that almost everything in it was a gift or a hand-me-down. The filing cabinet, lamp and chair were all Christmas gifts (on different years) from my parents, who are also the biggest enablers of my writing habit. The computer monitor and speakers are hand-me-downs from the same source. Hat and fingerless mittens were both knit by blogger friends. The ducks who watch over me while I work are a mated pair of mallard decoys that once belonged to my paternal grandfather, who I believe actually used them for hunting. The smaller object in front of the right-hand decoy is a black clay toucan my brother Mark brought back from Oaxaca. The tree is not a Christmas installation but a potted, year-round resident: a Norfolk Island pine that once belonged to my poetry mentor Jack McManis. So when I look at these photos, I see other people.
If any other bloggers want to pick up this meme, consider yourself tagged.