I’ve been reading a lot about people standing while they work. Treadmill desks are becoming popular. Susan Orlean writes at one. Standing desks are also a thing. Arshad Chowdury has been using one for the past two years.
This isn’t new. Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up. (Wolfe was 6'6" and used the top of a refrigerator as his desk.) Winston Churchill, Leonardo Da Vinci, Virginia Woolf, and Thomas Jefferson all stood, as well.
This got me thinking that maybe I should move my laptop over to the kitchen counter for awhile and see what it’s like to create standing up. Of course, I never seem to be in the same spot for too long these days. Right now I’m sitting at my daughter’s Tae Kwon Do class writing this on an iPad in my lap. In reality, I’m more like Agatha Christie, who didn’t even own a desk and worked wherever she could sit down.
The original article that got me thinking about this was 25 Productivity Secrets from History’s Greatest Thinkers.
Some interesting articles I stumbled upon afterward (the first two are long reads):
— The Odd Habits and Curious Customs of Famous Writers
— To Sit, to Stand, to Write
— 5 famous writers who stood while they worked.
Growing up I was into all things rainbows and unicorns, but I don’t remember any of these characters. Maybe they were a little bit after my time? Lisa Frank is making a comeback, though. Urban Outfitters is now selling a line of vintage items that have “been hiding away in Lisa’s own secret stash.”
Frank recently agreed to an on-camera interview with the store, and her headquarters in Arizona is quite something. My favorite part of this short film is getting a peek at her original artwork. She has saved it all — along with a sample of each product ever made. The details and colors of her pre-computer pieces are simply amazing.
I want to be a clean desk person.
What a Messy Desk Says About You assures me my cluttered workspace is good thing. Messy desks generate more creative ideas. They inspire you to break free from tradition. They produce fresh insights.
All that is good, but secretly I’d like to look like the kind of person who would choose the apple and gym over the candy bar.
Original post about my desk is here.
I love my coffee and green tea. I would drink them all day long if I could. I love the focus they give me while I work. However, it never occurred to me that caffeine could interfere with my creativity. (I know it interferes with my sleep!)
The New Yorker and the Atlantic have different takes on a recent review of caffeine studies. Matt Rodbard at the Food Republic does a good job summarizing the two stories:
…coffee provides creative types more confidence. It also allows them to focus on tasks for hours on end. On the flip side, prolonged concentration doesn’t allow the mind of wander and relax. Also, sleep helps recharge the creative batteries.
I’ve been writing on the Internet for a decade. Wow.
The first time I realized people were writing online was in 1999. Back then, there were two styles: weblogs and online journals. I loved them both. I had a full list of bookmarks (remember those? before RSS?).
I moved to Nebraska in September 2003 and created a little hand-coded site to keep friends and family updated on our move. It definitely started out as more of a weblog: bits of information, links, commentary, and a few pics. After awhile I started writing more. I journaled about my experiences in Nebraska, becoming a mom, and exploring the creative art of hand crafts.
Then life got busy. My daughter stopped taking naps. My journal entries got shorter and I hit publish less often. When my daughter started school, I thought that would change, but my mind began to wander off topic. I squirreled away things that interested me in pocket lists, twitter favorites, tumblr hearts, secret pinterest boards and facebook likes. I stopped sharing things that didn’t fit the narrative I had created here.
10 years marks a perfect milestone for reflection: What am I doing here? Why am I not doing anything here? How do I start doing more here?
I think for now the best thing for me is to return to more of a weblog style of writing. I miss being here. I want to be here. I just don’t have as much time to be here.
I’ve made a few changes. Don’t worry. Nothing is going away. In fact, I’ve created a table of contents that will hopefully make it easier to sort through 10 years of writing. That kind of rendered the navigation menus and sidebar widgets unnecessary, so I got rid of them. It takes some getting used to, I know, but I really like how the posts are front and center now.
I’m also going to push myself outside the boundaries of my current narrative. I want to explore all types of creativity, not just hand crafts. I want to talk about all kinds of sustainability, not just recycling and reusing. I want to write about smart women and how they can be role models for myself and my daughter.
Seems a little weird doesn’t it? More things to write about and less writing about them.
Change isn’t always easy, but change is good.
It seems fitting that I started writing this right before vacation and finished just after coming home. A few days before we left I went on a roasting frenzy to cook up all the remaining veggies in the fridge. I served them with everything — warm and cold. Potatoes with eggs for breakfast: check. Turnips and beets with dinner: check. Zucchini on toast for a snack: check.
When we got home, I had a lot of veggies that my friend had dropped off while we were gone and I did the same thing. It seems a little crazy to have the oven on for so long in summertime, but it’s so worth it! I have a fridge filled with antipasto ingredients that are sweet and delicious.
Roast on a cloudy day, early in the morning or after the sun goes down so your kitchen doesn’t become a sauna.
Use more than one roasting pan and combine veggies with similar cooking times. I don’t even wash pans in between.
Limit your ingredients and roast at a high temperature to get everything nice and carmelized. A little oil, salt and garlic go a long way.
Experiment with herbs! Roasted potatoes with thyme are my favorite.
Pictured above: beets, turnips, green onions :: red potatoes :: yellow squash