Here is my desk. It is filled with rocks.

This is my desk. It is fairly new. Recently my darling husband took it upon himself to make me an office – with a door and everything. Shortly after, I took it upon myself to fill that office full of rocks.

Or, not full of rocks, exactly. But I put a pile of rocks on my desk. To play with.

And I do play with them. Every day. I spread them out, I make new piles. I balance them, one on top of the other. I make stacks.

I like the weight of the rocks in my hand, the variation in texture and heft, the cool solidity. I like the improbable ways in which they balance and lean. I like the delicacy in which they hold their wobbly structures before they roll off my desk and onto the floor. I like the fact that when I bring them to my nose, they still smell like Lake Superior.

Right now, I’m reworking the ending of a book I promised to my agent – oh, I don’t know. A year ago. I’m also wandering through the comments that he just gave me on another book. In one book, stones prevail – large stones, old stones, stones that talk. In the other story, the Great Lakes – though they are never named – are characters in the drama. As I work through both stories, I return, again and again, to my rocks. I think about the icy waves that shaped them. I think about the cold gray of the water as it stretches to the sky.

My rocks tell me not to worry so much.

My rocks tell me to give myself a break every once in a while.

My rocks care nothing for deadlines or reviews or Twitter or book sales or time-sucking social media. What is time to a stone? What is success to water? Granite holds no opinions and limestone carries no grudge. They simply are.

So here’s my question for you, dear readers: What’s on your desk? What is it, when you are in the fire of creativity or the smoke of self-doubt, what holds you down to the green, solid world?


14 thoughts on “Here is my desk. It is filled with rocks.

  1. I have shells on my desk. I have a big clam shell (New Englander) from a local beach filled with shells I’ve collected from other beaches on vacations all over the east coast and a couple of rocks from Ireland. I put rocks I collected in Newfoundland and Labrador (that look a lot like your rocks) in my garden.

    • Who doesn’t love Snowy?
      I think they did a great job of keeping to the spirit of the books when they made that movie. Plus, they added a ton of hidden visual puns and sneaky cameos, as well as some not so sneaky ones.

  2. I have a plethora of hand toys like bendy snakes, a foam hammer, binder clips, an Inuksuk statue (to help me find my way), a slinky, the white rabbit (with spring loaded mouth and sharp pointy teeth). I love the rocks idea, it looks incredibly peaceful and centering.

  3. Besides all the graphics related paraphernalia (this is also my work rig, when I work at home) I keep a photo of my family, a sticker of Che Guevara in a storm trooper’s helmet (meant for the bottom of my skateboard, but it hasn’t quite made it), almost a full cast of my teeth, a button from a friend which says,”Make art not war,” and about 10 million scraps of paper with notes on them. On the wall is a calendar, a piece of paper which lists days in which one is supposed to put out their flag, and a quote from Herodotus in ancient greek which directly translates as “Hey you guys, how long are you going to row backwards?” but more accurately can be translated as, “Yo, are you going to be sitting on your ass all day?”

    Right now I don’t need anything else to center me about writing. Anytime I feel like complaining I always remember that if I can’t eventually make a buck with words, I’m going to be pushing pixels at some ad agency in my late 60s, looking like some scary, petrified Ghost of Advertisements Past, and no doubt wheeled out at every company meeting as an expensive object lesson about being too stupid to know when to retire. Besides writing is da bomb, or as I like to say, “It beats working for a living.”

  4. THANK YOU! I finally found a purpose for all those rocks I’ve collected over the years. I will now spend hours trying to find them so I can pile them on my desk. Counterproductive?

  5. On my desk I have a rock shaped like a finger and a piece of driftwood shaped like a finger. I worry them both between my fingers when I am at a loss for words.

  6. I have a meteorite, a chest of gold coins, a piece of the Pyramids, and part of a clock that will run for 10,000 years. Also, a stress hotdog.

  7. I love this. What is better than rocks to anchor us to earth?

    I’m partial to books, of course. Thousands of books. You can’t hurry a book. There’s only one way to do it, page by page. Word by precious word. And each of those words painstakingly placed by someone else, in another room, a thousand miles or a thousand years away.

  8. Nature is so much better at art than us humans. It’s interesting how much we can get from simple things like rocks. My desk is mostly covered with clutter, notes on things I really should get around to doing, things that I haven’t quite gotten around to putting away, etc. Nothing so interesting as rocks or killer bunnies or Snowy figurines, I’m afraid.

    Also, I just found your blog (Love The Mostly True Story of Jack, by the way) and have been reading the older posts. I noticed that Leo seems to have a slight attraction to Star Wars. Have you ever been to the Washington National Cathedral? It’s probably the only religious building in the world with a Darth Vader gargoyle.

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