I was reading a magazine during one of my library desk shifts the other day. As long as I don’t snap bubblegum while I read, no one thinks it’s inappropriate: in a library context any engagement with print looks legitimate. (Best job ever!) I even learned something while I read. One of the magazine’s suggestions for getting an area organized was to make it attractive.
That’s a principle I’ve followed from the beginning with my desk. I always have three or four things going on here, but I try to at least keep each project stacked in its own region. Right now I’m organizing recipes, procrastinating art-framing that’s needed to happen for a couple months now, editing a memoir for a friend’s grandma, writing a letter (to you, Natalie R.!), and thinking about revamping several binders where I keep things like our lease, party ideas, and my own writing.
As I mentioned in Monday’s post, even the tiniest dose of floral makes a space lovely, so when I started trying to whip my desk into shape for the new year I brought home these spray roses to keep me company.
They’ve long since faded out, so I turned to changing up the gallery wall. My original layout was this:
For all the details click here. Though “ultra-feminine” probably wouldn’t be the first adjective my friends would choose to describe my aesthetic, wherein pink is almost always absent, for some reason my desk has become an outlet for all my girly impulses. The second iteration was even softer than the first, albeit without the pink:
This time I decided I wanted something more energetic. I wanted vibrant color and inspiring images to “wow” me when I looked at the wall. The other arrangements staled for me because I got to where I didn’t even notice them. I think that danger is now averted.
The criteria for inclusion on this wall were a.) personally meaningful or b.) brightly colored. I started with red-orange and royal blue, then yellow, purple, and teal found their way in so I suppose it’s inaccurate to say there’s a color scheme. But there’s color!
I even updated my desktop image to go along with everything else. That’s a beach in Kauai. I hope to be there–or somewhere nearby–for our next vacation. (It’s been a dream of Lovey’s and mine since our honeymoon in Missouri; I’m sure you can imagine.) Here are a few of the other mementos:
A card my bestie sent me in the mail; inside it says “You’re good for me.” I’m grateful for all her friendship has seen me through, and the card brings forth those warm feelings. (Love you!)
This one came from an Oprah magazine (library again–but I ripped it out of a free copy, not a circulating copy!). It says, “Wiggle your worries a little each day, and they’ll gradually lose their hold.” Like first graders’ teeth. It doesn’t say that–but that’s what I think of. Get those worries looser and looser til they pop out and something mature takes their place.
This photo of little me goes along with the “no worries” saying. In childhood we are unselfconscious and endlessly creative, and I’m sure there’s a link.
And going along with that is a reflection on a lightbulb in a box–it reminded me of a concept I learned from one of my favorite creative writing teachers: that inspiration often strikes hardest when you discipline yourself. For example, he challenged us to learn to write sonnets well before moving on to free verse poetry. By striving to condense an idea to fit a rigid structure, we trained ourselves to pay attention to every detail, and therefore not to waste words when we were unfettered in a looser format.
And then there’s this. I thought I had lost it, and I was sad about losing it–but then I found it! It was hiding behind “Tally Ho!”, which is the art that used to hang where “Wiggle your worries” is now. Better view of “Tally Ho” here, if you care (scroll to the bottom).
Even a small effort at mixing things up keeps the look fresh and fun. And a small effort at imposing order keeps the look in line. The wall now seems to affirm all my highest aspirations for this space: whatever I create will be orderly, inspired, and colorful under the watchful eye of this array. That’s the only possible outcome here. Right?
What are your favorite ways to reclaim a cluttered space or infuse a ho-hum area with some punch?