On Office Space and Creative Vulnerability

On Office Space and Creative Vulnerability


This weekend I embarked on a small but significant project: I carved out a little corner of my apartment and created an office space all my own. The desk, to be honest, was my first hurdle. It came Friday in an imposing box exactly 400 times the size of my 11-lb. dog, Austin, and once opened, contained about five bajillion tiny pieces to assemble. Nobody wants to hear how I googled “proper way to use an Allen wrench” (the video results were weird) or that I accidentally put the wheels of my chair on backward; you can simply look up to see the end result then find vicarious satisfaction in the truth that it all got done. Somehow, every screw and swizzle-wizz came together. The desk fit with one inch to spare before it would’ve been stonewalled into design oblivion by the frame of my front door. 

Next, on Saturday morning, I drove to Apple and bought the computer upon which I type these words. Its screen is big and glossy, perfect for typing and deleting half of what I just wrote. Even the sound of my fingers on the keyboard feels right.

After the nice guy with the large-hole earring in his left ear carried the computer out to my car, Austin and I journeyed southbound to the garden store. It was there a soft-spoken lady in a green apron explained the succulents that would work best in my space. She also kindly added them, one by one, onto a plastic rack.

“Be careful when you drive. The plants are delicate and some of them have water in the pots. Good luck!”

“Oh don’t worry, I’ve got this,” I told her, backing away as my car chirp-chirped in door-opening delight. “Thanks for your help, the plants will be fine!”

(Minutes later, I took a sharp turn off PCH and spilled the water in five of them.)

Anyway! The plants survived and now sit in cozy repose around me, four to my left, three to my right. (Again see photo for reference.)

It might seem strange I’m writing at such length about the set-up of my office space but really, it’s so important — maybe the most important thing — to creative vulnerability. You need to set the mood when you make anything — art, poetry, stories, love. Would you really want to kiss someone under the romantic glare of fluorescent lights, beneath a popcorn-tiled ceiling, while the hauntingly brash tones of Gregorian chant reverberate across gray-carpeted walls?

Well, in the corner of my living room I’ve created the antithesis of that. My space is both calming and stimulating, ever-swirling with succulent abandon in a quixotic dichotomy of heightened inspiration and the slowed-down serene.

Also of note: Not more than a few hours after my office was complete, I got that familiar itch in my fingertips, which caused me to sit down for the first time in months and write this post for you. More to come from my (now real) little word studio.

What does your creative workspace look like? Let’s talk about it in the comments below …

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