From My Desk

In college I copy edited for our school’s newspaper. At the time, staying up way past my bedtime and eating greasy pizza while procrastinating on some paper or other sounded like heaven. So I took a grammar test, met the team and jumped in with two feet.

One of my favorite parts of the gig was getting to read a short weekly column from a rotating staff writer. “From the Desk” was basically an excuse to sound off, or hype up, or share general musings with the world, however small it was. Staff usually wrote multiple “From the Desk” articles and it was interesting to see how things (and people) changed through the years. I somehow managed to get away with writing only one. Mine was good though, coming in the form of a love letter to the campus, friends and faculty who shepherded me through some challenging years.

But then what happened? The same thing that happens to a bunch of college students: Graduating. Getting a job. Paying bills. Working. Hard. Getting tired. Realizing that unfortunately there’s not always 10 cold, greasy pizzas to eat in a packed basement with some of your closest friends. Especially when midnight hits and you know you’ve got a long night ahead, proverbially anyway. In a word, adulting.

But hey, there are some pretty obvious perks to adulting out there in the real world too. For instance, settling into the home of your dreams (hooray for West Homesteading). And graduating from a desk count of zero to a whopping two. Yes, one each for Husband and me. This feels like such a luxury. Not only can I put my tablet somewhere it won’t get piled under Husband’s papers, but I actually have space for papers (and organizers) of my own.

It’s been six years since I wrote my first “From the Desk.” I still love well-organized desks, and the thoughts that come from them. Writing this blog will be a lot easier now that I have one, surely. And in the spirit of being thankful, here we go … an ode to the things that make continued thoughts from my (new!!) desk possible:

(1) Desktop organizers. So while you might know from my last post that I love to keep things orderly and simple, I also objectively want my desk to look pretty in the process. For me that means clean lines, a relaxed finish and cool color palette. When I organize my things (pens, tape, scissors, newspaper clippings, you name it), everything has a place, my brain runs better, and ahhhh, serenity. Serenity is absolutely necessary for being able to do fun things like blog, or even more so, do gross things like pay the bills.

(2) ALL of the notepaper. This is where I have more fun, introducing brighter colors, prints or patterns. I’m a big doodler. I also have a round-about way of thinking and recording thoughts. You won’t ever find ridiculous lined paper on my desk. Too limiting. I need wide open spaces to do what I do best. Right now, I’m using a series of bold white note pads with fun neon borders from Gartner Studios. Will probably be stalking their web site for new stationary now that I know they exist. Anything to continue my passionate love affair with paper products.

(3) Something alive and bright. I can’t create, or pay bills, or feel human, without something living near me. In my work life, I’ve been known to bring in “hey I haven’t killed this thing yet!” projects. At home, I add whatever moves me to whatever vase I feel like filling with water. This week, it’s an $11 arrangement from our grocery store. Not kidding. It brought me joy in the aisle and it brings me joy now as I write.

Bonus: despite its unassuming nature and my embarrassingly green green thumb, the entire bouquet is still alive. In fact (!!), some nascent buds have actually opened and happily stretch outwards towards the window across the room. I have already challenged them to stay alive a whole second week.

(4) My planner. I’m not hip and cool. Which is totally fine by me. I’m guessing this is less ok for Amazon, PC or Apple, who would rather I let Siri, Cortana or Alexa boss me around than let me rely on a physical planner. Might make me a luddite but who cares. I’ve got my Passion Planner and until AI assistants can match the authentically human approach to dreaming and planning and reaching goals, I’m unabashedly team PashFam. Plus, gotta support a #girlboss. The world needs more women doing what they love and taking names while they do it.  It’s part of the reason I write in the first place. It’s something I love and  a great outlet to connect and share, here from the corner desk I call my own.

So that’s it. That’s what makes my thoughts from this desk possible. Well, that and coffee or tea. And the support of family and friends. But this was about my desk. So let’s leave all the mush for another post, whadya say?

Ryan Vale McGonigle

P.S. No, the handvac at the bottom of the featured image doesn’t help me write. I just didn’t move it from the shot before I took the photo. You were going to find out about my cleaning obsession at some point, so it may as well be here. Keeping it real, friends!

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