Desk Set.

Just a few things on my desk.

Every once in a while a friend of mine will put out the question, “What’s on your desk?” on social media. Or at least they used to. I’d share a few things I had including a quote I have pinned to the wall just behind my monitor and, well, now they don’t ask me anymore. I’m not convinced it’s the quote, but it does seem to stun people into silence. To break the suspense here’s the quote:

The philosophers, preachers, and doctors of your world feed you with fine words through the ears. Here we literally take in our teachings orally, through the mouth. Therefore I do not say to you: Read this chapter, understand this gloss. What I say is: Taste this chapter, swallow this gloss. Once upon a time an ancient prophet of the Jewish nation swallowed a book and became a learned man to the teeth. Now you must immediately drink this, and you’ll be learned to the liver. Here, open your jaws.

That’s from Gargantua & Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais, translated by J.M. Cohen.

Some people find that unsettling. I’m not sure why. When you were a kid were you ever told that you are what you eat? It’s fun to think you are what you read too, unless the only thing you’re reading these days is the labels on soup cans because you want your information condensed, but that’s another story.

What got me thinking about this is the upcoming Edible Book Festival. Or maybe it’s already happened, since it’s a moveable feast.

So what’s around you? Whatever you say I won’t find it unsettling. Here, open your desk.

12 Comments

  1. Allison

    You’ve seen my desk tour. For a long time, I had a random quote from The Office on my desk. I didn’t put it there. I’d had a really bad day, for reasons I don’t remember, and I left for the night feeling discouraged and weepy. The next morning, I saw that one of my colleagues had left that day’s page from his The Office daily quote calendar on my desk to cheer me up. I was touched at the thoughtful gesture and displayed it for years. I still have it, but it’s in a drawer.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      At least it’s there when you need it. And even better you’ve forgotten the reasons for the bad day but you remember the quote.

      Reply
  2. Arionis

    I’m not allowed to take pictures in my work space, but if I did, you would see a cubicle wall filled with Dilbert comics that have been photo shopped to apply to my specific work conditions. Don’t tell Scott Adams. He probably would not approve.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Your secret is safe with me, although Scott Adams might get a kick out of it. There are lots of “Family Circus” cartoons out there that have been given completely new–and often disturbing–captions. I understand Bill Keane really thought they were pretty funny.

      Reply
  3. Jay

    In that case, I have overread and become fat on books.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s a great thing too. You’re literally filled with knowledge.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    What’s around me is no desk and your excellent post, Chris, which reminds me that my son Aaron’s stand-up routine used to include a joke about eating the phone book.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I love that highbrow joke of Aaron’s!

      Reply
  5. mydangblog

    I just looked around and realized I have a lot of mugs that need to be washed! Your desk is definitely more attractive than mine at the moment, although I do have a mini-keurig (which explains the mugs–and I only use it for loose tea and hot chocolate mix because no one here will recycle the pods).

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      What you saw was only a small part of my desk. I never thought about it before but I have several mugs too which need to be washed, although in my case it’s because they haven’t been used in so long and they’re full of dust.

      Reply
  6. Gilly Maddison

    My studio looks pretty much the same as Ray Bradbury’s but messier.Yes really.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Messiness fosters creativity. At least that’s what I believe. Artists’ studios should be messy. Well, there are exceptions to every rule. Seurat was known for being scrupulously clean and organized, but if messiness works for you embrace it.

      Reply

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