My writing space is an exercise of compromise.
My wife has two adopted cockatiels. She swears they’re mine. They regularly find their way to my desk in search of almonds. Recently Jasper (the young boy bird) decided he likes the taste of my computer cables. It took me a moment to realize my backspace and period key were no longer working as he had chewed most of the way through the keyboard’s cord. He’s a rescue project that we took on as a neighbor kept him in a dark room for about seven years with little human contact. When he’s not biting me, he loves getting his head and neck scratched, writing deadlines notwithstanding. The girl bird has been with us for seventeen years. She doesn’t like the boy bird.
So almost everything that’s in my desk space has the tell-tale signs of hostile avian lifeforms. It’s a crowded few square feet where I do both my writing and try to run a business. My first edited manuscript sits tucked by the monitor, yet someone has tried to turn it into nesting material. I have three notebooks in play for my writing. Random ideas go into one. A second is a current project notebook where I’m putting down research which pertains to a fall-of-civilization novel I’m working on. My most recent page therein is on safe-cracking and picking locks. The third notebook is a binder with printouts from editors, writing tips, grammar guidelines, and things of that nature. All three notebooks are nibble-notched.
Food and water is a necessity at my desk. I’m constantly hungry, and it’s a distraction if I have to get up more than necessary. I keep raw almonds and sometimes a box of cereal nearby to keep away the stomach grumblies. Both birds know this. The birds are evil, and they covet my food. Birds don’t have lips. Thus there are crumbs around my keyboard. Crumbs get into my checkbook. I’ve placed the checkbook as a bulwark against the invaders getting food in the keyboard, but it’s not much of a barrier. I have to blow the checkbook out before I write checks.
Other random papers include a tax binder, a copy of PC Gamer, and a clipped magazine article on fusion that need to be filed. Scraps of paper have notes on them. One flier from our local sanitary district has a rough short story outline and a brainstorm list of alternate titles for my second novel which might see the light of day in 2016.
The final compromise around the workspace is my spine. I sit forward at an awkward lean, typically with a leg crossed. There’s often the girl bird asleep on one of my feet, and I usually don’t want to wake her up. The other one when not roaming is in his cage where the little demon belongs, but he will no doubt find his way back up here soon. With the current situation, I might get some work done, if I’m quiet. And if I’m lucky, the almonds will be all mine.
Maybe I need a cat.
Do you have an invader/ office companion who won’t leave you alone? Please share!