In which I commence the cleaning of my desk

It has come to this. I have the final round of edits on the Fairy book. They are in manuscript form. However, there is no room on my desk to put the manuscript. The towering piles of crap cannot stand any further weight, not even one small piece of paper, definitely not 264 manuscript pages. I know because I tried and there was much toppling of crap to the floor. It is now dumped back on the desk.

The desk must be cleaned in order for me to work.

I am afraid of it. It is now more like an archaeological dig than mere cleaning. I fear what I might find: I did clean away all uneaten food, didn’t I? I fear what I won’t find: All those things I’ve been looking for and not found could be buried somewhere in those many layers. But what if they’re not?

And what am I going to do with the stuff on the desk that must be kept? It’s not like there’s anywhere else to put it.

The cleaning of my desk fills my heart with despair.

Perhaps I could work on the floor in the front room? Or on the kitchen table? Or at someone else’s kitchen table?

No. I must be brave. I must delve into those hidden depths and make them go away.

Wish me luck. Pray that I do not get buried alive in an avalanche of old catalogues and magazines and receipts and envelopes and wine labels and dead electronic bits and letters and business cards and books and pens that don’t work and postcards and head phones and empty water bottles and note books and hair clips and lens cloths and post-its and lip balm and all the stuff I can’t actually see. Or eaten by the cockroaches, rats and scorpions that may emerge from the bottom layer.

If I do not post again remember me kindly.


  1. Kenina-chan on #

    Good luck! I recommend taking an allergy pill before cleaning, as the dust always gets to me. And put on some music – it should distract you from the fungi that might be alive.

  2. kim on #

    stay safe, justine!

  3. Mary Beth on #

    If we don’t hear from you within the next few days, we’ll send the St. Bernard with the brandy keg 🙂

  4. kim on #

    oh, and don’t forget to bring a baseball bat to hit anything that is moving.
    you never know.

  5. Kadie-Wa on #

    Haha, lol kim. and justine, i’m still litterally loling.

    reminds me of when we have to clean out our lockers at the end of the year. scary…

  6. Becky on #

    you should hire an assistant to clean your desk! 🙂

  7. dylan on #

    And i thought my desk was messy:)…Good Luck

  8. shloopy on #

    Good luck! I’m afraid of my desk as much as I fear homework. Now that I’m thinking… I don’t know the color of my desk. Off to find a shovel!

    Don’t forget to recycle any papers that you don’t need!! Oh, and have the SPCA on speed-dial if there are any poor creatures underneath everything.

  9. claire on #

    is it time to go to ikea?

  10. ariel cooke on #

    or you could go and work at the kitchen table.

  11. Chris McLaren on #

    Let me share with you the patent-pending McLaren method of cleaning a desk. Well, not so much cleaning up a mess as compressing it–you can’t really fight entropy in a closed system without putting your valuable energy into said system, but you can do local rearranging within the system at a zero (or very low) net energy cost.

    First, you sort the stuff on the desk into five piles:

    1) Books
    2) Other physical objects which have a definite place they belong (not “on the desk”)
    3) Other physical objects which don’t have a place they belong
    4) Papers that need to be dealt with in the short or medium term
    5) Papers that need to be sorted and filed

    1) Put the books away
    2) Put the other objects in their places
    3) Put all these objects in a large cardboard box, and put this in the closet or storage room. Forget about them until/unless you have need of them
    4) Put all these papers in an appropriately sized Rubbermaid-type container, and put them under the desk. By the next time you clean up, these will be candidates for pile #5.
    5) Put all these papers in an appropriately sized Rubbermaid-type container, and put the container near your filing cabinet. You can probably stack it on top of the container from pile #5 last time.

    Ta da: clean desk!

  12. shelly rae on #

    Bah, to heck with desk cleaning. Just toss it all in the corner and move on! Nope, that doesn’t work for me either, sigh.

    It’s November, what are you still doing in the Northern Hemisphere? It was a lovely 86F here in Austin today…

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