Academic Writing

Imitating Warland’s Table

Our second week on the academic writing class, and just as enjoyable as the first. A first class second class (OK, I’ll stop doing that now)…

Based on the following work:

Warland, B. (2010). The table. In B. Warland, Breathing the page: Reading the act of writing (pp. 75–77). Toronto, ON: Cormorant Books.

Use Warland’s essay as an inspiration for writing about the place where you write. Focus on a specific piece of furniture and work to bring us the sense of detail and significance that you find here. Your writing should be about half a page. This practice we will be reading as a large group.

Here go’s then…

The Chaos of My Desk

I am aggravated by chaos. I like order and logical organization. No one would ever imagine the latter by observing my desk. An old broken mug, given to me by my wife, that bears the words, “I love you more than starry skies.” She wonders why I still keep it. Small objects of art, created over the years by our youngest child. A wooden pencil box, containing a magnifying lens and my favourite pens. More computing equipment than the average desk—I’m still a computer consultant. An empty beer glass, waiting mournfully for its next refill. Two, pewter models of Kirk’s and Picard’s Starship Enterprise—always a Trekkie. A small, carved tub with a loose lid in the shape of the head of a brown bear—Ursus arctos horribilis. Once upon a time, as a safari park ranger and behavioural zoologist, bears were my passion. Now the reserve I patrol from my desk is education, and the tub holds paperclips where once it might have contained bullets.

I am very fond of my desk, a mock Edwardian mahogany partner desk, with its many drawers to the left, to the right, and above my knees; all keeping more history, more memories, safe in their cozy darkness. Like the experiences embodied by the chaos scattered across its surface, it’s not what it is, but what it represents. It was my wife’s at first, bought 20 or 30 years ago, then my stepson’s during his brief flirtation with an undergraduate degree. The battered edges of its past mar its good looks, like the scars of an old soldier. It has seen a few campaigns but remains dignified in its endurance. But possibly the most important part is where it is. I sit on the outskirts of our family room, desk facing the sofas and chairs, the log fire and the heart of our family. I used to have a basement study, but it was cold and lonely down there. My desk is much happier amidst  the chaos.

One thought on “Imitating Warland’s Table

  1. Pingback: Feedback on My Desk | Talk Curriculum

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