My desk is a jumble of papers, pens, magazine, catalogues and little notes to myself. It is never clean. How do other writers work?
From The Believer we get a list on what various writers keep on their desk. Here is what Glen David Gould, author of Carter Beats the Devil, has:
From left to right: stacks of 3x5 cards with cryptic comments about the next book, some of them taped to my printer and monitor (“All they can do now is amuse me with their sufferings”—Wilton Barnhardt); an empty tin of Marco Polo tea which was full before I started working on the next book; letterhead, postcards, bills, invitations, office supplies, computer equipment; an eighteen-inch-tall flamingo with feathered headdress, that’s actually a pen, given to me by my friend Leila of Operation Smile, because she felt I needed something of proper dignity to sign books; Meshell Ndegeocello’s Bitter and a stack of Glenn Gould CDs; some archival CD-ROM documentaries that relate obliquely to the next book; a shot glass from the Madonna Inn next to a stuffed “Death” doll from The Sandman (for ages eight and up); a peace symbol that I made when I was age eight; a 1920s 9.5 mm Pathe Baby film I won off of eBay that may or may not relate to the next book, depending on whether I can find a projector to make it work; more 3x5 cards listing all the things I haven’t done (repair our car’s back bumper, which I damaged when doing a three-point turn into a retaining wall, apologize to many people for many things); a framed manuscript page from Lynda Barry’s Cruddy, on which she has painted a fierce-looking mysterious farm animal; a box of Altoids on which rests ashes remaining from a cone of green tea incense; a huge and unkempt file of newspaper clippings, photocopies, auction catalogues, photographs, xeroxes of posters and images, all of which relate to some extent to the next book; a 50,000 dong note sent to me by an adventure racer in Vietnam as an informal royalty for the copy of Carter Beats the Devil that she sold at a bar in (I think) Denang; a hygrometer; a thirteen-year-old, sixteen-pound tortoiseshell cat named Batgirl who sleeps in a basket under a poem my wife wrote about Batgirl’s intense and very passionate cross-animate love affair with the garden hose.