The Smart Women’s Writing Desk, Part 2

My turn! I’m excited to give you a peak into my home office this week; unlike Angela, I didn’t clean for you, but I’m just going to go with it. I’m a little attached to my piles right now.

This is the place where magic creativity happens:

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Although I often bemoan the clutter, I really like my space and the size of it.  It’s our old kitchen table, which I repurposed after we got a new one from Ikea a couple of years ago. We thought we needed a new table because this one was really wobbly – it turned out it was a simple fix, but this does a lot better for me here than it did for dinners.

Even when the space is more covered than I’d like, I love having a large surface. I’m left-handed, which explains why the laptop sits on the far right; this allows me to spread out my notes when I’m really in the thick of lesson planning or other writing. It’s not uncommon to see a large textbook spread open, a pile of notes to one side of it, and additional papers scattered around the perimeter. (Trust me, this week it’s not nearly in that mode.)

I last straightened in June, just before I left for a two-week trip to the UK. You wouldn’t guess that by the piles, and even the back is more cluttered than I’d care – but I’m in this “I need ALL OF IT!” phase. That pile in the center is the remains of the UK trip that I still need to do things with:

I need to file some of it away, explore resources in other parts, and decided I couldn’t move the Imperial War Museum books yet until I finished lesson planning. (So how can I possibly organize the pile yet?)

On the far left is a pile with some teacher materials for the 9th grade course textbook, receipts from my trip, and a copy of The History Teacher. I’m not sure why that pile is there, except that it used to be larger. I think when I came back that was the Very Reasonably-Sized Pile of Things To Be Done. Now it’s just a little sad.

No matter where I am, I like to be surrounded by my favorite things. This is why my laptop bears Redbubble Stranger Things and Doctor Who stickers, and I’ve got framed Hamilton lines at the back of my desk. Matt Smith is also keeping a close eye on me as I write (intentional? of course!).

If we step back a bit, here’s the full effect:

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Top left: a framed copy of my PhD diploma, in a custom frame The Spouse made (he did the stained glass and the wood; I spent the 6 years getting the paper inside). Elsewhere in my office, I have a few things related to women in the military (from my graduate research), but the print in the center, “Reflections,” is a bit different: in the 1980s, my parents got this print of it for my uncle, a Vietnam vet. He died when I was 16, but the image stood out to me for years.

Like Angela, when I’m at work I tend to keep my workspace neater. I’d take a photo, but it’s summer and my trips to school are pretty infrequent right now. Also, there’s just nothing there – I’m not using the space and won’t for another few weeks.

I think I tend to keep that space tidier, though, because it’s more public. If you visit my classroom, you’ll still find a lot of my favorite things (Doctor Who is everywhere – always fun for the students who get it). I also use a lot more of the room space as my personal work space: at home, I rarely move my laptop from my office. At school, you’ll find me working at the desk some days, or setting up shop with a table at the front of the room – wherever I feel like it that day.

Right now, my space is mostly being used to prep for the school year ahead. This summer, that’s about the extent of my writing time, but in the past few years, I’ve come to embrace lesson planning as something that is often every bit as creative as other writing I like to do. As long as I have time and space to be creative, it’s a start.

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