(Not) My Writing Desk

This is not my writing desk.

This is not the place I craft my internationally-read tweets.

This is not where my poems are transfigured from feeling into language.

This is not where I write.

This isn’t even where I buy bananas, though this is the shelving unit that displays bananas in my local supermarket. This is because I do not buy bananas.

Why do I not buy bananas?

Because I do not like to eat them.

For this reason, though this is a prominent shelf in my local supermarket (No Frills on King Street West, Toronto) I do not habitually stand here.

I do not pay attention to the bananas, and I do not pause here to collect my thoughts and search them for the poetic. There is poetry in bananas, yes, but there are no bananas in my poetry. There are rarely bananas in my diet.

If this were to be my writing desk, how would it impact my writing?

Whether I were writing with a laptop or a pen and paper, these bananas would be an unstable surface. Any vigorous composition would crush the fruit, and if the bananas were crushed then store policy dictates I must pay for them, and I am a poor poet with no funds set aside for fruit or any other non-essentials.

This is not my writing desk, and nor will it ever be.

I often write naked, which is here forbidden.

This is not my writing desk.

There is no chair, there is no peace, no silence, and no easy access to a private toilet.

A proximate, private, toilet is essential to a writing desk because no poet can write whilst wrestling with the pounding distractions of bodily need: a poet must poo, wee, masturbate or vomit whenever the urge arises. We are not like weak, repressed, novelists: our bodies are facile toys attached to pristine minds, not facile minds attached to pristine toys. Yes, the average poet is uglier than the average novelist, but we have words and physical consistency: beauty fades, ugliness does not. And novels are often for children.

In the supermarket, where I do not make my writing desk amongst the imported Caribbean fruit, there is much to eat and much to drink, but here in Canada it is impossible to buy alcoholic drinks in the supermarket and there are no coffee-making facilities, so the only beverage that is suitable for adults here is water, which I have in near-unlimited quantities at home. A writing desk without the potential for hard liquor and hot coffee is no writing desk at all: one may as well write when asleep.

This is not my writing desk.

My dog may not curl up underneath it. If I want to shit myself I may not. If I drink a bottle of wine I will be ejected.

Only an animal – or a novelist – could write in these conditions.

This is not my writing desk.

This is the shelf where bananas are displayed in my local supermarket.

This is all it will ever be.

Scott Manley Hadley blogs at TriumphoftheNow.com and his debut poetry collection, Bad Boy Poet, was published November 2018 by Open Pen. He is Satire Editor at Queen Mob’s Tea House and is on Twitter @Scott_Hadley.

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