My Command Center


Late last week, my friend Leslie Poston posted a photograph of her workspace to her Flickr account and linked that photo up on Twitter under the hashtag #commandcenter. I'd been in Leslie's house before, but never seen her workspace, and it was really intriguing to me to see where she gets all of her writing done (and all of her other work, too).

Last night, I decided to join in on the fun by snapping a photo of my own workspace, a photo which I've embedded above. And one of the things that came out of the process of taking the photo, uploading it to Flickr, and then tagging it with notes was that I realized how many of the items in my office are all about memory.

There is the bumper sticker that my grandparents brought back from Hershey, Pennsylvania in October 1977, the month I was born. And there is the framed photo of a Hershey sunrise, taken seventeen years later, on my seventeenth birthday, just a month after my grandfather passed away. There's a replica animation cell from The Lion King that my family got in 1994 when the movie came out on VHS for the first time, a bookshelf filled with hardcover editions of books by the authors who mentored me during my stint in the Lesley MFA program, a chair from my dearly departed alma mater, Bradford College, that my dearly departed father-in-law, Steve Woodsum, purchased from the college before it closed, and, off in the corner, there is a little toy piano that belongs to my daughter, a piano that is sometimes the first toy she goes to on a Saturday morning, when she realizes that daddy is already up and already working.

For me, the perfect workspace is a place warm in color, surrounded by books, and dotted here, there, and everywhere by knick-knacks that conjure powerful memories. My work demands a certain attention to memory, a feeling of nostalgia that permeates every moment. And so, this is the perfect place for me.

Other people like things much simpler. Still others, like the musician Matt Searles, seem to work best in rooms where stuff spills out onto every corner of floor, like so much inspiration bubbling up over the sides of a boiling soul. And my message to you is this: make your space work for you, not against you. We live busy lives, and when it comes time for us to get our work done, whether that's the work that pays the bills or the Work that nourishes the spirit, we need a place that reminds us why we do what we do, and that compels us to do it more.