I am fascinated by the places people carve out for themselves when they work.
Whether it’s a rest bar a the Post Office, a cubicle, or a spot on an assembly line, we all tend to make nests out of our workplaces.
Writers, in particular, seem to give full vent to their creative nesting impulses when it comes to the places where they put words to paper. The Guardian published a fascinating article a few years ago with photos of different writer’s rooms, described in the writer’s own words. It turns out that famous writers work their magic while standing at lecterns, reclining in their beds, sitting elegantly in beautifully turned out offices and a bit everything in between. Some of them look out their office window at a beautiful view; others prefer to stare at a blank wall.
It seems that the literary muse like many different kinds of nests. But one thing each of these workplaces had in common was the sense of ownership the writer seemed to feel about it. It was “theirs” in a way that the rest of their houses were not.
So it is with all of us. We humans feel a need to claim our turf. We are more comfortable if we sit in the same place at church, take the same desk at work and dine in the same corner of the company cafeteria. We take comfort from and even find a bit of peace in the predictability of having “our” place when we sit down to work.
Maybe that’s why I found this article so fascinating. Or maybe it was just that I am such a dedicated nester. Home is important to me. Home is refuge, safety and peace. Even when I’m out and about, I like to have spots that are mine, where I can go and have at least a facsimile of home when I get there.
My office at the Oklahoma state capitol is no exception. I deliberately chose an office that is a bit off the wide-open path. To get to my office, you have to work your way through a suite, including getting past my secretary. I filled it with things that have meaning to me and I regard it as a sort of retreat in that big, echoey building. There are times when I need to get away from the noise and bother of that place and think things through. I also need a retreat where I can pray.
I spent hours looking at the photos of writer’s rooms in that article and reading their thoughts about their workplaces. Work is such an important part of all our lives. We spend a huge part of our waking time in these cubicles, offices and stations. That makes them important.
Here’s a photo of my office.
What does your workplace look like?