I can't really clean my desk at the moment. The laws of the universe forbid it. Well, they make it very difficult. Matter can neither be created or destroyed, you see, whilst important paperwork can be created in vast, immeasurable quantities and yet... still cannot be destroyed. Temporarily lost? Yes. But only at the time, that singular moment, that it is needed most.
My desk sits in the corner of my room, to the left of the window. If it faced out the window I'd do nothing but stare. It's a hexagon. To the right lies a haphazard pile of manila envelopes filled with bank statements, car info, health documents, assorted 'important docs', receipts, demands, final demands and all manner of paper trail. More organised people would file these things. I move the envelopes behind the curtain and occasionally look frantically through them after a phone call from a withheld number.
The slide-out keyboard tray holds no keyboard. Submission chapters scrawled with red and black ink, redrafts and new additions to the final chapters of my novel, early-stage cover letters, more important documents and final demands and the first few sections of a Phd I'm editing sit there. They sit there because they are of immediate concern. If this were an office, they would be labeled 'urgent'.
There are no drawers in my desk, only shelves. One shelf carries several copies of submission chapters so poorly edited that I should just use them as scrap paper. I feel environmental guilt when I think about that shelf. It also holds various spare stationery items - envelopes and the like; Conqueror paper for important letters, printer paper for producing yet more poorly edited print-outs of submission chapters; it is the shelf of dead trees.
Dead laptops adorn the opposite shelf - three of them. Two iBooks and an old PowerBook, with a cylinder of blank CDs to keep them company. I really ought to eBay those sometime soon.
My printer lives on the bottom shelf, scattered spare ink cartridges strewn about and on top of it. I'm not printing much out at the moment, but I should be. Photos, writing, that sort of thing should be printed - pressed into reality from the scattered, fickle electrons on my MacBook.
Six corks lay in various places atop my desk, some from extraordinarily fine wines. I use most of them to prop my keyboard up, as its little feet broke some time ago and those are the kind of spares you never find anywhere. Some of the things here make more sense - my laptop speakers and laptop, my keyboard and mouse, mugs full of pens, staples, thumb tacks, paperclips, and a lollipop with a tequila worm in it. Four notebooks - two moleskin - and two sketchbooks. I've not sketched anything for years and I've only used two of the notebooks thus far. There's a photo of my nephews and assorted pens, a pair of Oakleys, an iPod and a few sets of headphones kicking about. I see another couple of important sheets of paper that I really ought to do something about as well. A quaich full of loose change sits in the corner, occasionally pilfered for the sake of a pint. Some novelty dice also linger amongst things, serving little purpose but to add to the sense of disarray.
And this is my desk reasonably tidy. Not clean or organised, but reasonably tidy.
To the left sits a pile of papers, an odds n' ends shoebox and more incredibly important documents as well as various cables needed to connect various things to my computer and my camera. My specs case is there too, and an unopened packet of drawing pencils. They might explain my unsketched books. I can see my counterpart Driver's License shoved between some untranscribed tasting notes. There's a copy of the lease for my flat underneath. More corks. A disposable camera that's been used but not developed for 5 years.
I cannot imagine what's on there. I'm not sure I want to.
Every time I tidy my desk it's that pile to the left that gets bigger. I tend to just chuck all of it over there.
The detritus on either side, the stuff underneath and the rubbish on top - every once in awhile it gets to me. I sit down to write and find it stunts me. Some people file things for the sake of organisation, for some piece of mind that comes with things being in their proper place, imposing order in a universe that's quite happy with its own order, thank you very much. I need to file things to avoid distraction. Organisation is a luxury, a bonus, but never really a necessity to me. The odd frantic search for a bit of paper doesn't bother me too much. But the odd pointless scrap of bureaucracy can spell disaster. An old tasting note peeking out from under the shoebox will pique my interest and that quickly leads to a wasted 5 minutes, hour, afternoon.
Matter cannot be created, but clutter and endless distractions seem to create, recreate, procreate, duplicate and accumulate without end. Perhaps it's time, finally, after three and a half months, to buy a filing cabinet.
Matter cannot be destroyed.
But it can be hidden.