where i write

When I was growing up in Stratford, we had this enormous open plan kitchen in our house, with two skylights. It was the perfect space, and so large it didn’t even bother my mother when my brother and I would host birthday parties for our stuffed animals in the middle of the floor, as she’d merely walk around us and continue on. Much of this can to be accredited to both my parents who helped designed the house.

In one of the corners of the kitchen was this old roll top desk. White washed with colourfully painted cabinet knobs. I’m sure at one point the knobs were much nicer, but I cannot be blamed for having a paint brush in the kitchen and a tendency to wander at such a young age.

I loved this desk. Not only did it show its years of use with pride, it had so many compartments, it was like a treasure hunt trying to find things. My mother likes to hide things in drawers (especially candy) so we’d always go searching through the desk for treats. I remember composing a lot of letters at that desk, and doing my homework there as well. Afterward it would be bought to the kitchen table for parental eyes to glance over. The kitchen table was always the “editing station” and the roll top desk was where we’d compose.

When we had to move  from the space, to a different city and a different kitchen that didn’t fit the desk, it went into storage in the garage for years, until I was older and high jacked it to put in my own room. Composing continued until I moved out. I was sadden to hear that when my brother went to university he took the desk, and it was eventually stolen when someone broken into their flat.

Even though I’ve been without the desk for nearly a decade, I still miss having a writing desk. They are so different from the computer desk, not only in design aesthetic but also in feeling. This is probably why I’m attracted to small offbeat coffee shops, with mismatched furniture. I do some of my best writing in those spaces, as they capture the feeling of my old desk.

Which leads me to my question for you. Where is your favourite place to write?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “where i write

  1. What a lovely tale, but with such a sad ending. Who steals a desk?

    I used to have a writing desk. It was a tiny wooden table, very old and scratched up, but very solid and heavy. I did all my best thinking there. I have no idea what happened to that desk, as it didn’t come with me when I moved away from home.

    Now, I write pretty much anywhere. It’s so different with a laptop.

  2. f

    I never had a writing desk, but my favorite place to write is still small offbeat coffee shops, with mismatched furniture. We used to have one or two and now it seems like they kersploded into a grajillion. My favorite one that I wrote lyrics and short stories at for years and years is gone though. I can’t write on my laptop, good ol spiral notebooks for me please and thank you. Oh, and a single cigarette for inspiration.

  3. Barb: I was gutted to find that out. They stole weird things – like the seat cushions to the couch, but not the couch. Very odd.

    There is something about a solid table that brings out the best thinking. Remind me that we need to go into a store called “Stepback” when you come next week. I just discovered it in Kits last weekend. Tiny place filled with old treasures.

    F: There are a few good places in Van, but I haven’t found a favourite out here yet. Not like I had back East or in England anyway.

    I can’t write write on my laptop very well either. I find I edit too quickly, and its not as fluid as when I sit down with the pen/pencil in my notebook. Cuppa with honey takes the place of a cigarette for me. ;)

  4. kelly

    At the desk on the computer. My handwriting leaves more than something to be desired. On occasion I have had to ask others if they know what I wrote. I suppose I could slow down and be more careful. Over the past few years I’ve done a number of online courses which involve essay writing those and even my Master’s thesis were all done without handwritten notes.
    That being said, I recently read a letter home from a WWI soldier . It was written on a cloth handkerchief. It was very enjoyable to read, I think looking at the handwriting makes it much more personal and I could imagine him sitting by lantern writing this during a few quiet hours in the evening.

  5. iduality

    I still do a lot of handwriting; mainly with my job. I stumble upon things like the letter you mentioned all the time, so that’s part of why I still do write. It’s becoming a lost art. Completely agree that a letter is more personal; tangible things always are.

    My class notes, and essays were always handwritten before I would type – especially my notes. I find just taking notes on the computer took away a bit from the thinking process.

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