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Author: Erin Dorney

From the Desk of … Camille Rankine

This week I asked poet Camille Rankine to share a picture and tell us about one item on her desk. I have a Jamaican thousand-dollar bill sitting on my desk right now as a reminder to put it in my wallet when I go to Jamaica in August. It’s been in my desk drawer for a few years because I keep forgetting to take it with me when I visit, and ever year its value depreciates. Right now it’s worth about eight American dollars. – Camille...

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From the Desk of … Janice Lee

This week I asked writer and editor Janice Lee to share a photograph of her workspace and answer the question: Messy or clean? Currently my desk is fairly clean, but this is unusual. It is usually covered in stacks of books and I worry that the desk might cave from the weight. I recently cleaned my room, and in an attempt to have my workspace be a little more organized, I’m enjoying having a clear surface with room for my elbows and thoughts. Outside my window is a large green tree, upon which I often see squirrels, birds, and kittens....

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From the Desk of … Chloe Benjamin

This week I asked author Chloe Benjamin to share a picture and tell us about one item on her desk. The pink box on the upper left corner of my desk contains my stationary collection, some of which I’ve been hoarding since college. I love the idea of buying something small and beautiful with the knowledge that it will be given away. For me, stationary is also linked to relationships and relationship-building. Writing is very solitary, but having my stationary close by reminds me of the world—and the people—beyond my desk. – Chloe...

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From the Desk of … Alexandra Naughton

This week I asked writer Alexandra Naughton to share a picture of her desk and answer the age-old question: Messy or clean? My desk is messy but I know where everything is. It’s also clean, even though there are things all over it. When I was little I had a dresser in my bedroom with a big mirror attached to it. I kept the surface of the dresser clear, but I admired the doodads and mementos that my friends kept on their bedroom bureaus: photobooth photos taped to the glass of the mirror, little toys and prizes won from...

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From the Desk of … Kevin Maloney

This week I asked author Kevin Maloney to share a picture of his desk and answer the age-old question: Messy or clean? Lately my desk is a metal table outside a New Season’s grocery store in the suburbs of Portland. When I started my job seven years ago, my evening commute was 30 minutes, but with the massive influx of people moving here the last few years, it’s over an hour. Instead of fighting traffic, I come here and write. One day I’ll have a beautiful oak desk next to a window. I’ll hang a small photograph of Flannery...

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From the Desk of … Sarah Green

This week I asked poet, singer, and songwriter Sarah Green to share a picture and talk about one item on her desk. It was hard to choose between the postcard of Grace Paley, the wristband from my performing songwriter days, the loteria card and Writer Emergency Pack but I’m gonna go with Whittier. My friend Jacob Storm Deatherage of Ex Libris Books found this scrap of a Whittier letter in an antique Fanny Farmer cookbook. He then mailed both items to me. The Whittier envelope says “part of a letter by Whittier 1877.” Inside it says “The drawbacks are...

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From the Desk of … Luke Wiget

This week I asked writer and musician Luke Wiget to share a picture of his desk and answer the age-old question: Messy or clean? Clean. I used to have a ridiculous, oversized plywood desk where I could lay out all my notes and drafts in a very specific way, but have swapped out that bigger desk for this old formica school table to make room for a crib and changing table, as my wife and I transform my office/music room into a nursery/office. I suppose clean is helpful to me because of how superstitious I can be about my...

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From the Desk of … rob mclennan

This week I asked writer and editor rob mclennan to share a picture of his desk and answer the age-old question: Messy or clean? To attempt any part of my writing desk is an archaeological challenge. Mounds of review copies and scraps atop and astride drafts of poems, essays and fiction. Also, my series of tokens: a trophy keepsake presented to my now-late mother; my Tardis; Ogopogo statuette. A space carved for laptop. There is much of the surface of my desk that I rarely see. There is always some new title, some new project, some new mound of something-something...

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From the Desk of … Lindsay Raspi

This week I asked poet Lindsay Raspi to share a picture and talk about one item on her desk. The silver box on the top right was my grandfather Tony’s toolbox. He worked as a machinist at Bethlehem Steel when it operated in Baltimore. The workers slept on asbestos cots, and Tony died of total organ failure at the age of 60, when I was 10. He was the youngest of 16 children in an immigrant family. I’m pretty sure his mother’s name was Pasqua, I remember him saying it meant Easter. The box used to be coated in...

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From the Desk of … Lynn Melnick

This week I asked poet Lynn Melnick to share a picture of her desk and answer the age-old question: Messy or clean? Right now my work space is pretty clean. Sometimes it’s a total shit show. I guess I’d like it if my life was such that that my work space was always somewhat orderly, but there are many more important things to me than order. I cleaned it up for you, though! – Lynn Melnick...

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From the Desk of … Chelsea Martin

This week I asked writer and artist Chelsea Martin to share a picture and tell us about one item on her desk: My table has “LOVE” written all over it in sharpie because I stole it from my little sister who used it for lemonade sales and who understands that people want to buy an experience, not just a product. – Chelsea...

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From the Desk of … Curtis Smith

This week I asked author Curtis Smith to share a picture and tell us about his desk: My writing desk was salvaged from a friend’s attic—a remnant from their art school days. Thank you, Steve and Louise. I do all my writing longhand first—planning, first draft, revision. Then the typing, which is a different desk. I won’t show you that desk—for me, writing and typing are two different beasts. There’re post-it notes on my desk, memos to myself. On the right, I keep a folded paper, the day’s to-do list, which I try to slap together the night before....

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From the Desk of … Nancy Reddy

This week I asked author and poet Nancy Reddy to share a picture of her desk and answer the question: Messy or clean? I keep my desk tidy for sure. But I also post pictures and ephemera, sort of like talisman: cards friends gave me when I left Madison for my job in New Jersey, the broadside from two friends’ collaborative chapbook, a postcard with the cover of my own book, a picture my toddler colored at daycare, and so on. These days, most of writing gets done in far messier spaces, though—in my car before I go in...

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From the Desk of … Brittany Cavallaro

This week I asked YA writer and poet Brittany Cavallaro to share a picture of her desk and respond to the question: Messy or clean?  As cluttered and colorful as possible, with an empty space in the middle for my laptop and my elbows. When I’m between sentences or stanzas, I need a few minutes to stare up at the wall, and it helps if I have some things I love there. – Brittany...

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From the Desk of … Christine Lincoln

This week I asked author Christine Lincoln to share a picture and talk about one item on her desk: A piece of wood, hand painted with the vibrant image of San Juan—Saint John—patron saint of writers, editors, publishers, bookmakers, etc. I do all of these things at my desk: write, make art and books. San Juan watches over my creative space because writing is the way I pray, my sacred entering in. My desk is one of the few place where I’m safe to be completely vulnerable and stripped bare. – Christine...

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From the Desk of … Meghan Lamb

This week I asked author Meghan Lamb to share a picture and talk about one item on her desk: The computer in the back is my husband’s. We share a desk space and often work side-by-side. The folders to the front right corner are filled with printed articles and scribbled note for future “use”. – Meghan...

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From the Desk of … Niina Pollari

This week I asked writer and translator Niina Pollari to share a picture of her desk and answer the question: Messy or clean? I don’t like my desk super messy, but I do like clutter. I have to build a shrine so I have something good to look at because I don’t have a window, so things tend to grow a little wild as the objects come and go. – Niina Pollari...

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From the Desk of … Bud Smith

This week I asked author Bud Smith to share a photograph and describe his desk. Mostly I do my writing wherever I can find a spot to sit down for ten-fifteen minutes during the work day. I write on my cellphone, and always have my cellphone in my pocket. The last couple days, I did my writing in the machine shop. It’s filthy, oily and completely void of soft edges. I’m all about it. I have a desk at home that I edit my cellphone writing at, but I don’t do much creative work at it. Just creative destruction. I...

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From the Desk of … Carmen Maria Machado

This week I asked fiction writer, critic, and essayist Carmen Maria Machado to share a picture of her desk and answer the question: Messy or clean? I’ve always really loathed the pervasive, smug aphorism that clutter on one’s desk is a sign of genius, and order signifies a person without creativity. My own has its tchotchkes and supplies, but I always keep it tidy. I have difficulty working if things are out of place. If my workspace is messy, it means that I’m stressed out, that something’s seriously wrong. All of my best work—fiction and nonfiction alike—has been born and...

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From the Desk of … Adam Tedesco

This week I asked Adam Tedesco (cofounder of Reality Beach) to share a photograph and describe one item on his desk. This desk is clean. There’s a couple other places I like to write, and those are messy. I accumulate things while writing: coffee mugs, ash, debris, stacks of books and paper. When it gets to be too much for me, I move to another space. I’m a parasite like that. Also, see that alligator? There’s poetry supplies in there. – Adam...

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