Friday, 13 February 2015

A New Desk

I have been searching for a table or desk of about this size for a long time,  years essentially, though even more determinedly since I moved to this location.  I had my heart set on something old, a second hand find in part because I simply prefer older furniture, but also because I did not want anything precious but I did want solid wood.  I found this desk, solid wood though not fancy, marked down to nearly half price in a local furniture store that is downsizing and moving.  Other than not being old it was what I had been looking for and gives me twice the surface area that my previous table did.  In my opinion it is furniture of quality materials that looks best when it develops the patina of age and use and heavy use is the destiny of this desk.  This is my painting spot.  This is where I do all artsy craftsy, doodling, things and now this is also a good place to write.  There is my easel in the corner but sometimes I work on a flat surface.  I will probably initially protect the surface with butcher paper but in time this desk is going to look well used.  It already comes with a bit of faux distressing, which normally I am not fond of but in this case will make it a bit easier for me to inflict my own first marks in much the same way I had expected a second hand piece would.  In many ways I look forward to the day when it is well distressed by my own hand.  I have bought this desk to be used, enjoyed and well loved, not to hand down to my heirs in pristine condition.

This photo was taken about fifteen minutes after the desk was delivered.  I was so excited and happy, so there is not a lot of styling going on here but an attempt to set myself up for immediate use.  I am sitting at the desk now as I write this.  As you can see I do not have a fancy chair, but one of a set purchased second hand and of which the other three are in storage.  They exist in case I ever get the urge to feed dinner to more than myself and thus need to actually seat people around my table.  Normally I just find the chairs to be in the way and I am inclined to partake of my own meals while sitting on the sofa.  Now perhaps, I will be eating at my desk, enjoying the view.  Anyhow, here is the one chair, metal, painted white and with white vinyl padded seats I always assumed I would change.  Vinyl seats make me sweat but they are at least washable and relatively paint-proof.  The chair is not ergo-dynamic nor is it even particularly comfortable for long periods of time but then for me, few chairs are.  I have difficulty sitting upright and like an infant just learning to sit, given a short period of time I begin to slump.

As a child I had excellent posture, enhanced, no doubt by years of ballet lessons.  By the time I was in my twenties, I was beginning to be told by people not to slouch and was highly offended by this.  I didn't know I was slouching, I did not see myself as a slouching person, and what I also didn't know at the time was that I was already struggling with CFS/ME and that the simple act of attempting to hold myself upright was exhausting and I was losing my ability to do so.  It did not matter how much I worked out and strengthened my core muscles, in time I found that the demands placed on me by the general upright world, were too fatiguing and my exhausted body could not always engage the muscles it had.  I could not stand for any length of time, though moving around, walking was easier to sustain than actually standing.  After half an hour of standing I would be nearly in tears and ready to sit or lie down on the ground.  But even sitting in a chair became difficult.  I slouch in a chair too.  If it is a soft chair or a sofa, I look merely like I am louche and lounging, though my slumped posture is simply the best I can manage.  If I am forced into a situation more formal, if others are present or I need to make an impression, I will make super-human efforts and I will succeed but at a cost.  It takes adrenaline reserves to sit upright for long and this is in part why even an outing to a cafe leaves me exhausted the next day.

So all of that means I will have difficulty sitting at my desk for long periods of time, but my particular manifestation of CFS/ME is a waxing and waning one.  My condition varies not only from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year, but even on a daily basis it varies from hour to hour.  I believe this is partly because I have been living with it for so long and have learned to pace myself enough not to have major bedridden- for- months types of relapses too often.  In thirty years of living with it I have definitely cycled through relapses and remissions many times, but to some degree I have learned how to play the game.  As I sit here at my desk I am beginning to slump.  It is probably hard on my back but I don't have much choice.  Even a special support chair would still require me to use some of my own muscles to hold myself up and eventually those muscles would get tired.  But there is nobody here to point out my unlady-like slumping, my unattractive slouching.  Nobody to shame me for something I cannot help and no need for me to explain myself as my back begins to take on a C curve.  I can lean on my desk.  Later I will do some gentle stretches and attempt to bend myself back in the other direction.  I have to do the same thing every morning when I wake up, as gradually over the night my body has begun to curl in on itself like a sensitive fern does when touched.

I'm off to do some downward dog.  Have a lovely weekend everyone.  If you have any tolerance at all for my first draft fiction writing, you can now find all 15 chapters written to date linked at the top right in my sidebar.  My process is currently about working out plot and characters, with the writing being absolutely first draft and unrefined.


  1. How wonderful to find what you were looking for such a long time! I'm really happy for you. Congratulations!!! I have no doubt it'll be distressed naturally and well loved in just a short period of time - it will feel so perfectly yours! I do love a good writing desk, though I actually do all my writing sitting in bed or on the sofa. :))) But it's still very good to have one. Mine is from 1930s or something like that - huge, heavy oak desk. I think I won't move it again any more - it's unbelievably heavy. Permanent spot in this house at least. :)

    I noticed that you reorganized the presentation of your novel and am very glad you did and thankful for it. I think you'll find it works better for you as well, not just for us readers. :)

    Have a wonderful weekend, rest, write, enjoy yourself! Hugses and love! xxxxxxxxx

  2. I know what you mean about the faux distressing. Why do it? It annoys me. But I do love a genuinely loved piece, as yours will be soon. It really is a nice looking desk.
    I also understand the slouching thing. Apparently it is common amongst Aspies with their low muscle tone. I've been told off since I was little for putting my feet on the chair next to me at the dining table, so my knees stuck up. My Mum said"how would you like it if I did it" and I was so horrified I stopped for a while. But I notice I do it now and I am a Mum, so my kids will never learn that lesson!
    Wishing you many many joyful creative hours at your desk! xo JJ

  3. Your painting/crafty corner looks cosy and inviting ... I'd definitely stop and paint for a while :0)

  4. this desk is really pretty - if i were in need of one i would buy it too!
    maybe they can deliver the view too? ;-)
    as for slouching - i had fingers poked in my back my whole childhood. my spine wants to form a humpback. downward dog and his friends prevent me my half adult life from looking like quasimodo for ever.
    happy yoga! xxxxxxxxx

  5. LOVE your new desk ... I think I am going to look for a new desk for my scrap room ... I am not in love with my old dining table which I now use! The whole space looks so inviting!!! I am a little jealous!!!

    You educate me so much on ME! Thank you for sharing your struggles ... It certainly makes me look at people differently when they are slouching!

  6. Yaay, congrats on the new desk! Have I ever mentioned I love your home? I know I have, but I LOVE YOUR HOME! It looks like a set from a movie, the ones they use for homey comedy series like Friends!
    As for the slouching, I'm the queen of slouch! I can make Quasimodo seem like a breath of fresh air! :-D I think it's because of the many years of low self esteem, I have acustomed to making myself small with slouching. Trying to fix it this last few months though!

  7. Thank you for all your witty comments! I find your desk beautiful and full of caracter. It blends well with the rest of decoration and you placed it nicely in front of the window. I wish you spend many creative hours there and that your body will not give you so much trouble!

  8. Glad you found a desk you like Shawna. I must say your creative corner looks quite cosy. Take care and have a lovely week. xo

  9. Your new desk is beautiful, it's a magnificent scale and worthy of all of the wonderful work you will create on it - I think a regal desk commands us (or is that just me!! many zillions of years ago my friend loaned me her green leather topped desk, long story later, I left it behind, how sad!) it's positioned so perfectly too - hope you relaxed gently x x x

  10. I like your desk. It looks solid. If there's anything I demand in furniture, it's that it be solid, preferably old, but like you, new will work too. And I hope you distress it mightily, physically not emotionally. Heh. I like how you expressed the weight of an upright world. Yes. I hadn't thought of that. I hope you create all kinds of amazing things at your new desk.

  11. Love your new desk, with a great view and space to spread out. I hope you spend many happy hours using it xx

  12. You're so lucky to have space for a desk/creative set up. Mine has always been in a basement with poor lighting. Or in the corner of a dining room where the mess is forever billowing over. It's very inspiring to have a new set up like that for sure. I can imagine you sitting at your desk right now!

  13. I don't know why exactly, but to me it looks just the way a writer's desk should...maybe because of all the light coming in...the chair is also really lovely! It seems to be a perfect place for creative activity of any kind.

    I'm sorry to hear about the fatigue that's preventing you from standing up straight...and I can imagine how frustrating it must be...I have a really bad spine deformation (scoliosis 40 degrees both sides) and while I stand quite erect, it is noticeable that my back is curved in the shape of S...and when someone makes a comment in the sense that I should try to stand straight or try for it to be less noticeable ( like that is possible, I mean the bones is curved, it has nothing to do with posture and muscles)...I swear, I feel like slapping them.


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