For eighteen years, I have had this little rectangular writing desk with the white acrylic surface and the bean bag cushion base. And despite the chipping paint on the corners and the loss of the plastic pen holder at the bottom, it still works perfectly. I have used this desk to write in bed and on the couch and in lounge chairs. It has provided me the ability to write in cushiony places, places where I don't have to sit up rigidly straight and eventually wind up slumping over my keyboard with muscle fatigue. Places that allow me to dream. Early mornings staring out of the dawn-filled window and gathering my thoughts or late at night cuddled in a puddle by the door and taking one last look at a scene to see if inspiration would hit. Sometimes taking a plot dilemma to bed and letting my subconscious mull over it during the night.
I bought the desk when I first moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1995. I wandered around town admiring all the independently-owned shops and fell in love with McGuckin's Hardware store. McGuckin's sits on the corner of Canyon Boulevard and Folsom Street, and it has been iconic of the character of older Boulder since the 1970's. In there, you can find anything from coloring books to patio furniture, seeds to humidifiers: Anything and everything that might make someone's life a little more comfortable and more. When I saw the little writing desk, I had to have it.
At that time, I wrote every morning before work, sitting on my futon couch, my feet up on a chair, my cats surrounding me. I wrote longhand in a notebook while one cat lay on my lap slightly off center to allow room for my notebook. Two other cats sat, one curled up on my lower legs, the other sleeping on the futon cushion next to me. The fourth would occasionally make an appearance, but never stayed for long. The writing desk was the perfect addition to this configuration because it gave me a stable flat surface atop my lap on which to rest my notebook and my writing hand, leaving my other hand free to sip coffee from and, occasionally, to scritch a cat. I couldn't move. I had cats! So I had to write, until my hubby brought me breakfast on his way to the office.
I no longer have cats to keep me stuck in one place writing, but I still have this little desk. It allows me to write anywhere. Now that I am a full-time poet and novelist, I use the desk for writing on my laptop in bed. What an invention! My coffee pot goes off at 6am and I am up writing my novel with my writing desk and laptop and my husband (the stuffed one, not the breakfast-bringing one). I am cozy yet I am traveling through time to the twelfth century watching through my characters' eyes as they meet Eleanor of Aquitaine and observe the intrigues of palace life in Poitiers, France.
In the afternoons, I travel from one end of my house to the other, keeping my writing desk at my elbow yet staying focused in one place in my writing: from living room couch to stairwell landing, from Edith Bunker chair in the family room to outside in the garden under the birch trees and among the flowering thyme.
Thanks, McGuckin and whoever designed and made this beautiful little desk! I hope it lasts another twenty years. I have never seen another like it.