Monday, August 25, 2008


Brenda Schmidt for DESK SPACE

I love my workspace. It's simple, neutral and neat. What you can't see in the photo is the window to the left. It faces east. Under the window is a baseboard heater. On cool mornings I warm my feet on it while I'm reading poems. That's how I begin my day.

I spend much of my day at that desk. It faces the south wall. On the left is a small filing cabinet for current projects and research material. Right now it contains the latest drafts of a new collection of poems and the beginnings of a novel.

On top of the cabinet is a bulletin board where I pin fresh drafts of poems, the postcards that I receive from my pop culture mentor (including the ever disturbing "Penguin of Death" postcard), a list of books and movies, a newspaper clipping an artist sent me because she knew it applies to one of my projects, and a tiny ink sketch of a cat who is no longer with us. She used to sit up on the bookcases behind me and watch me work.

On the wall above the computer is a piece by Cara Winsor Hehir of St. John's, Newfoundland. I bought it a couple years back after I saw it on her blog. The female form is bold and strong. When I'm having doubts about my work I just look up.

To the right is a small bookcase where I keep a few reference texts and current reading. There's a black box on top which is full of postcards and letters from writers. A stuffed spider, a gift from a writer, sits on the lid.

On the left side of the monitor are some things that writers have given me over the years: a stuffed cat that's stuffed into a pen holder, a horseshoe off a horse named Willie, a cow-in-a-dress finger puppet inside an Aussie Kangaroo Pouch, three rocks and a little pewter chair. Just looking at them makes me feel lucky.

On the floor just to the right of me is a set of 10 lb weights. When I'm stuck on a line I'll pick them up and do some reps. And beside the desk is a step which I also use when I'm stuck. I get stuck a lot. But that's ok. At least I'm fit.

Of course the best part of my workspace is the wall of books behind me.

Brenda Schmidt's third collection of poetry, Cantos From Wolverine Creek, came out this spring. She lives in Creighton, a mining town in northern Saskatchewan. She can see Western Explosives, Ltd. from her window.

Other books by Brenda Schmidt: More Than Three Feet of Ice and A Haunting Sun

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