The online literary press Real Pants asked NA faculty member and poet Vanessa Jimenez Gabb, author of Midnight Blue and co-founder of Five Quarterly, to share a photograph of her writing desk and answer the question: Messy or clean?
“I need clean first. My head is always so full and I don’t like seeing that mirrored around me. Then I can think and I start thinking and vibing and start adding things that I think of and need in order to think more and it becomes messy but I need those options in the moment. I don’t use a desk. I work in the living room and in the bedroom. I like pastry things nearby. –” Vanessa Jimenez Gabb
Your opinion: Is Ms. Gabb’s desk clean or messy? How about your own? What is your favorite place to create? What things do you like to have nearby? Pastries, perhaps? Give us your creative secrets!
I vote “clean”! But not too clean. Like a messy bun. I am interested in where chaos fits into the creative process, and wanted to ask Matt Diffey about it as his beautifully chaotic “page of ideas” — which is his morning’s work — seems deliberately to thwart orderly structure.
I vote that Ms. Gabb’s desk is not only clean, but organic/tactile, and colorful in a pleasing way. I have a desk (given to me by a dear friend, so it has good karma) in a quiet room where I am supposed to be writing, but it’s more like a train station on a forgotten line than an actual workspace. In the past, my writing spaces have required windows. No view necessary–just a window. I also like post-its on the walls. Now that I’m mostly digital-, rather than than paper-oriented, I find myself yearning for a bulletin board’s palimpsest.