Brain Food #658

Make the tiny desk count

Thoughts of the day

Happy Monday. As you get ready to tackle another week, with the days getting shorter and the nights longer, perhaps it might feel like there is less of an opportunity to squeeze in everything that matters into those precious few hours we get given every day.

Returning to Toni Morrison’s wisdom, who references Emily Dickinson in Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals (originally from an interview in The Paris Review):

“I am reminded of that tiny desk that Emily Dickinson wrote on and I chuckle when I think, Sweet thing, there she was. But that is all any of us have: just this small space and no matter what the filing system or how often you clear it out--life, documents, letters, requests, invitations, invoices just keep going back in. I am not able to write regularly. I have never been able to do that--mostly because I have always had a nine-to-five job. I had to write either in between those hours, hurriedly, or spend a lot of weekend and predawn time.”

The tiny desk could be a metaphor working across multiple layers. Perhaps the desk was so tiny so it would ensure all those distractions that came in ended up somewhere else altogether. When you eliminate clutter, you are only left with what matters to have a fruitful day.

But the tiny desk could also be a metaphor for how little space - temporal, mental, physical - we have to call truly ours. Whatever matters to you, whatever you aspire to do, adding a few moments of it to your day is better than having no moments of it at all. You can still make that tiny desk count.

Thank you for reading today’s Brain Food. Brain Food is a short daily newsletter that aims to make you think every day, without taking up too much of your time. If you know someone who would like it, why not forward it to them? Brain Food is, after all, alive thanks to you, its subscribers.

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