Saturday afternoon, Joseph and I assembled my desk that had been in storage since February. I had not thought much about being without a dedicated personal writing space, all 6 x 2.5 x 1.8 of it, for nine months.
After packing up my apartment in Seattle and heading to Vancouver, I found writing-friendly places everywhere: my husband’s desk draped with a bedsheet to preserve his stuff; cafes down South Granville Street; our dining room table; the coworking space Suite Genius for weekly “office” hours; benches along False Creek; picnic tables outside Hillcrest Community Center after a swim; YVR airport lounge before flights; and Molli Cafe and its tall tables barely wide enough for my laptop and plate of tacos.
My laptop and my freelance writing work allow, sometimes seemingly demand, me to write at various times in different places every day of the week. Every location for writing has its quirks, advantages, and annoyances. I stopped visiting and began living in Vancity thanks to those hunts for coffee, WIFI, and people. They were some of the best parts of this past summer.
I would choose a corner Tim Horton’s with strong internet over a hipster cafe with bad WIFI
But it was not until Saturday when I leaned my desk against the wall, unrolled the lamp cord, and opened my laptop, did I suddenly feel relief and comfort, even safety. My own space. My own space in my new husband’s office in a new city in a new country. One defined place that fosters my writing, that immediately signals the start of the work of writing – no longer taking my laptop into the restroom and or wondering if the wall outlet actually functions.
The desk is not fancy. It is wedged, like the frame of a new condo building downtown, between chester drawers and short cabinets. I turn right and can see the rising Vancouver skyline, straight and see a happy yellow wall, and left the doorway out. Just five pieces of wood, the desk is two skinny side planks with three open shelves bolted between them, the bottom shelf being the widest and where I work. The middle and top rungs will eventually hold notebooks, an old dictionary, and pens.
I want to keep my desk uncluttered. It’s easier to climb that way.