I’ve Got My Magic Desk; Now I Need Some Magic Time
What good is a creative analog space if you don’t ever use it?
It’s not as sexy as Sam Hunter’s Magic Desk, but I love it, because it’s mine.
It’s just a butcher block, eight feet by two, on four pipe legs. It’s got trays of calligraphy paper, a tall tower of rubbermaid drawers filled with pens and tools, and a heavy glass inkwell/pen set right in the middle. There’s an Apple HomePod, ready to play whatever lo-fi, tango, or 70’s rock music I need to drive my process. It’s got two lamps, one on either side, that can be focused towards the center where the adjustable desk mat sits, waiting for me. My calligraphy pens, jars of ink, tiny notebooks, and other paraphernalia of the hobbyist hand-letterer are ready to hand.
Now, if I could just find the time to sit and do something.
I’d like to learn to “dance between the desks.”
Austin Kleon was on the excellent Hurry Slowly podcast, talking about his own process and workspace. He was inspired by Art Spiegelman (author and artist of the Eisner-award-winning Maus, which also apparently terrifies the right wing because of…checks notes…naked mice) and his studio:
Art Spiegelman had stations for everything…he had a desk for doodling. He had a desk for penciling, had a desk for inking, had a desk light box on it so he could trace drawings and then he had a desk with his computer and his printer and like, all that stuff…
So he was just doing a dance in between these desks all day…
In an ideal world, that’s the kind of process I would like — being able to move from my “work station” (an electric height-adjustable desk, because standing during meetings helps both keep me awake and keep meetings shorter) to my “bliss station” (to paraphrase Joseph Campbell, though I like “magic desk” better).
The thing is, it’s not that simple. Just as the “magic desk” should be constrained to only those tools that are used for creative work, “magic time” needs some constraints as well.