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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?

A photograph of the desk of Carmen Maria Machado

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 wrought at a neat, clean desk. – Carmen Maria Machado

Erin Dorney
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About The Author

Erin Dorney

Erin Dorney is the poetry editor for Third Point Press and lives in Minnesota. Follow her on Twitter at @edorney or learn more at

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