Monday, November 19, 2012

Desk of a Thousand Scraps

I admit it - I'm Old School. I don't record ideas on an iPad or into a recorder; I don't text bits of brilliant dialogue to myself. I scribble them on my ever-present steno pad, or, if needs must, onto Post-It notes or napkins.

The theory is, I will shortly transfer said scraps of paper from their gathering place on my desk into actual WordPerfect documents. (Told you I was Old School - I don't even like to write in Word - doesn't everyone knows that WP is a much, much better program?)  So I take notes with pen on paper. It's only temporary, I tell myself.

Reality? I end up with all kinds of crap piled on my desk that I plan to do something with, eventually. A poster I want to hang, a book I want to write a review of, notes from my last crit session I need to integrate into my WIP. Subway napkins. E-book gift cards. My grandfather's obituary from 1963 - the actual newspaper clipping, which I have already scanned & uploaded to

I don't know WTF to do with the original, yellowing scrap of newspaper. I don't want to throw it away, that seems cold, but it's not like I have anything useful to do with it. So, it's been living on my desk for about a year now.

 Rick Wakeman's Dance of a Thousand Lights, from The Return to the Centre of the Earth
Much more appealing than the desk of a thousand scraps.

Having reached the point where my poor desk can't hold any more scraps or crap, it's time to clear it, and maybe my head at the same time.

Now I'm looking at some of my scribbles and having either no idea why I thought it was brilliant, or, difficulty reading my own damn handwriting.

Here's a list of possible characters for a WIP. Ventriloquist. Magician. Pot brownie lady. Tweaker.

Why did I want a Bandage Queen in this story? I don't even know what a bandage queen would be - maybe like Mila Jojo-whatshername in Fifth Element?

Oh.... I wrote Bondage Queen.

That fits.

Here's some song titles, that I was going to center blog posts around. Pete Townsend's Stop Trying to Make Me Real. America's You Can Do Magic.  How/why, I have forgotten. Mystery phone numbers - adios!

Oh, look, here's that April Romance Writers Report magazine I never quite finished.

Awesomesauce, I found my "inspire" key from SoCal Lady Bloggers, via Whitney Howard Designs. It's part of the "swag bag" my beautiful friend Sid put together for our meeting last spring, and I was really bummed when I couldn't find it.

Voilá, here's the "how-to" booklet for my new(ish) smartphone. I guess I put that on my desk so it would be handy. *snort*

But, now that I have unearthed the directions, I can plug all these business card bits of info into my Contacts, then file. Hopefully I will not overwrite with FaceBook info again and lose half my phone numbers.

Water jug tab thingies that the cat likes to chase across the floor. Obviously those need to be on the desk. (not.)

Complimentary hotel hand lotion - about one use - leftover from RWA conference this summer. We certainly don't want to waste that.

An old menstrual calendar, year unknown. Bye-bye! My 401-k quarterly report - sadly, it's clear I won't be retiring in luxury anytime this century.

Here's more notes on that WIP - I wanted to have an author neighbor who lives in a house that looks like 1313 Mockingbird Lane and writes light inspirational pieces, Chicken Soup-y kinds of things.

Woo-hoo, there's that extra coaster I was looking for!

And when all is filed and shredded and input, you can actually see the wood of the desk. (I could orange oil it, it's quite thirsty, but have run out of energy and ambition. Over TG weekend, perhaps.)

I am not sure whether I was having a hard time writing because my desk was such a mess, or I let it get that way to serve as my excuse for not writing.  But now I have cleared the decks, so it's clear sailing for a few more weeks, anyway.

Do you keep a clean desk, 
or a messy one?
What crap is on your desk right now that really doesn't belong there?
Your thoughts?