Wednesday, November 15, 2006


My friend Andrew posted a blog detailing what's on his desk (following on C. Dale Young's blog on the same); both queried: "what's on your desk?" Which seems to echo an advertising campaign--"what's in your wallet"?--but since not much is in my wallet, I'd rather catalogue what's on my desk, in keeping with that great description of Lt. Tyrone Slothrop's desktop in Gravity's Rainbow. Mine:

Left to right: defunct IBM Aptiva tower and, in front, a ceramic tile decorated with an egret painted by my friend's 11 year old daughter Madeleine Scuderi; in front of that, my cordless phone in its charger, surrounded by a host of receipts and post-it lists, plus some stray computer discs and an empty Advil container; next, a mug (from U of DE with handle broken) containing pens, a shortstack of books (mostly Jameson it seems--from summer reading), papers having to do with class on top of them, and stamps on top of those (two of which are Baseball Sluggers); between IBM 1 (white) and IBM 2 (black) are some picture discs and a speaker for the computer: in front of Tower 2: a plastic replica of Space Ghost's 2nd banana Zorak at his keyboard console, ever-glaring at me (a gift from my youngest brother Eric), in front of him are three white-out bottles, one standing, two prone, and next to them a dusty box containing old mini-floppies, which supports a circular plastic case of dwindling burnable CDs . . . there seem to be some stray chords (my mic?), my current syllabus, a New Haven parking ticket, a calculator, more receipts and post-its, a Sharpie, a pencil, my cool Italian desklamp; then, at the back again, comes the computer itself, my keyboard (topped by a Pocket Dragon with an empty coffee cup, a present from my sister), in front of that is me (my elbows and the keyboard rest on a vinyl-like mat covering the desk's wood), then, between me and keyboard, a black Pfeltzengraf mug atop a rattan coaster; to the right of the monitor is my cheapie Brother printer, and in front of that the mouse on a pad from my wife, featuring Native American designs from Oregon, then several of those labels for cassettes that come in Maxell tapes, then some more books, most of these on T.S. Eliot for that essay I'm supposed to be writing, and Anti-Oedipus, also stray pens (none of which I bear any affection for), at least one list of things to do, and my white Sennheiser headphones connected to a 18 ft. extension cord.

My old desk
does an arabesque
in the morning when I first arrive.
It’s a pleasure to see
it's waiting there for me
to keep my hopes alive.
Such a comfort to know
it’s got no place to go,
it’s always there.
It’s the one thing I’ve got,
a huge success,
my good old desk.
--Nilsson, 1968


Anonymous said...

The funny gap in my list of things on my desk is that I did mention my computer, my keyboard, or my printer. Too big to see (confirming Dupin's claims in "The Purloined Letter").

But I also forgot to mention the external hard drive and the modem, so maybe it wasn't a size thing.


Donald Brown said...

oh, you just wanted to appear to be one of those writers who eschew technology, but, since we're reading you on the internet, we know better...

I didn't catalogue what's on TOP of my computers: ceramic pieces and origami figures my daughter made in middle school, a Day of the Dead bar scene in paper-mache, given me by a friend, and some mementoes of Austin and of Seattle that my wife gave me...