why the meerkat has three desks

Working where you live means – on occasion – you need to change up your routine to keep from going stale.

Most days, I can be found in my home office.  I love my office space.  It has gets natural light morning and afternoon, and the windows look out over trees and sidewalks, so I can see people – and the ever-present squirrels – passing by, and feel like a part of the world without actually having to leave my work.  I have two work-levels, with plenty of room to spread out, if I’m working on the laptop, or a manuscrpt, or something that needs the larger monitor.   And if occasionally a siren or heavy truck wails past… well, I live in NYC, after all.  It becomes white noise, after a while.

Sometimes, cabin fever overtakes me, though.  The beloved walls close in, I can’t focus, and it’s far too easy to think “I’ll just do X, instead,” or wander into the kitchen and start cooking something, or spend too much time playing/cuddling with the cats.

That’s when I head for the alterna-office.  Or, as other people call it, the New York Public Library.

Yeah – some people go to Starbucks.  But when you’re serious about needing to focus, the quiet rooms in the NYPL*, where they provide you with light, air, a table, and an outlet – and an occasionally iffy internet connection you should not rely on – can’t be beat.  It’s got a definite “do your homework” vibe… but there’s also the sense of Deep Research, of a community of scholars, however amateur some of us may be.  Unlike Starbucks, there is a feeling that you come here, not to while away an hour or so, but to spend the day.  Pack a lunch.  Get in deep.

And then there are days….

Like today.  I am so very very tired – after a five day run of 8+ hour workdays – of being at my desk.  And yet… the walls are comfortable, and I know I’ll be out and about later this week, so I have no need to escape.  I am working on things that require only the laptop, not manuscripts or the larger monitor.  And that is why I have moved to my third desk…aka “the sofa.”

No, it is not my desk because it’s the sofa – a chair or another desk would do as well, so long as I had my work in front of me, ready to go.  It’s my third desk because it is across the space from my office, because it looks out different windows, has a different scene.  Without leaving home,** I am still able to shake up the pattern, disrupt the rut, so my brain has to keep up.  A brain that’s working is a brain that’s creating.

And that’s why I have three desks.  Because stale is no way to work.


*I go either to my local branch, or the main building, in Manhattan

** or the cats.

2 thoughts on “why the meerkat has three desks”

  1. The public library sounds lovely. I have to admit, I have wondered what it was like in there ever since I moved to NYC, but I’ve never actually been in. I’ll have to go hole up there one of these days!

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