51 thoughts on “HA!

  1. You enabler you. Making mess palatable just because a genius was messy.

    I bet he knew exactly what was where. Since I don’t, I will fight the CleanALLtheThings fight until I do know where all my good stuff is.

  2. *shaking head* Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. Your argument would be much more substantial if the picture had not been taken on the day Einstein died. If that’s what his office looked like the day he discovered that E = mc^2, you’d have a stronger case for the creative power of clutter.

    I say this as someone whose office makes that picture look like a Macy’s display window. However, even if my office emulated SEP’s for neatness and design, I would still keep my laptop on the dining room table where I can look out through the windows at the harbor.

  3. My desk, which is supposed to be organized and have a system taught to me by the organizer, looks more like a study in geological layering. There is no room for my laptop, even, and it’s a small one! The desk and shelves actually don’t look as organized as Einstein’s.

    1. Heya Skye – I saw you say somethign similar over on ReFab. Was the organizer’s system designed around how you see and use stuff or was it one of a few templates that s/he superimposed on your stuff? Gird y’self, assvice incoming!!

      I ask since I have a slightly cluttered bookshelf – it’s single, 1m wide, wall mounted and above my desk for my “most important stuff”.

      This shelf has mainly non-fiction, some related to interests, some how to books (Origami, Calligraphy and Magic Tricks – seriously) some academic books, some popular academia (Dan Ariely, Eric Berne), some related to my profession, a few magazines like the Popular Mechanics skills issues, and paper and documentation, mostly filed haphazardly.

      Amongst all of this, there are three Jenny Crusie novels. If we were to play, “what doesn’t belong” – someone would insist on the Crusies. After all, I have another bookshelf. But my need says that the novels stay. Analyse the organizer’s method and look at yourself. Adapt the method to suit you or get a whole new one. Not easy. But so worth it. my big push is this weekend or else. The desk and shelf WILL BE DONE. But since I’ve been doing a teeny bit every few days, it’s not the monumental task it was a month ago.

  4. Still in the thrall from listening to “Getting Rid of Bradley” I read your opening line and thought, “Now why would a dog want an office?”
    It is your spirit that makes your books so heartwarming; not the junk on a desk.

  5. One of the things I love about this are the way the books are stacked! All different ways because that is what book lovers DO! You are always looking for THAT book! This makes me think of that lovely movie with Meg Ryan and Timothy Robbins with Walter Matthau as Einstein. Sigh… that was such a fun movie! They must have used this pic for the props guy. Set decorator, or whatever you call it.
    I.Q. That was the name of the movie. Adorable, if you haven’t seen it.

    1. IQ is the perfect romance movie, and a perfect study in Goal, Motivation and Conflict. It’s a regular fix with me. Bonus is it reminds me of one summer evening a ton of years ago when I too walked along a street in Princeton eating ice cream.

  6. What I love is the chair. Look at that chair! Naps were taken in that chair! CREATIVE NAPS. For SCIENCE!
    (Typically shy Argh debut ;-).

  7. Hee hee. The SEP and Crusie war continues. My office always reflects the stage of the writing. When I’m in rough draft it’s messy because reference books are everywhere. When I’m in the first stage of something new it’s clean and orderly, and nothing much is happening. : )
    Katrina, I really liked I.Q. I do have a copy on my shelf. And now I want to watch it.

  8. The more I learn about Einstein, the more I like him. Here are two of my favorite Einstein quotes that seem to fit this picture (more or less, anyway – I’ll seize any excuse to share favorite quotes). The second one seems especially apt.
    Imagination is more important than knowledge.
    Once you can accept the universe as being something expanding into an infinite nothing which is something, wearing stripes with plaid is easy.

    1. What’s crazy about the Calder space is how spare his work could be. Lotsa self editing to get from that workspace to a piece of art.

    2. Calder’s space looks exactly like Husband’s garage…oh, and his office. Mine on the other hand leans toward SEP tidiness. Sorry, Jenny! I just can’t edit in clutter. I think it’s because (and this is very deeply psychological, thanks Mom!), I’m straightening out bad language, grammar, syntax, etc. so I need to have a straight place to do that. Or I could just be a little bit OCD–either way works. 😉

  9. My space is more like Alexander Calder’s. Projects, vocal music, a tiny spot for my laptop (which I like to put on the dining room table so I can watch Vermont from the window). Sewing, Quilting, Painting, tins of things. It goes on. My family gets cranky when it starts to spill into their lives. Silly family.

    1. Alexander Calder’s studio? My whole house looks like this! I can get one corner organized, then, like kudzu, the clutter engulfs it again. Time for a nap, I say.

  10. I write notes on little bits of paper and then can’t find the little bit of paper I knew I had written something important on, like a phone number. Or I’ll have the number but not who it belongs to…always thinking, Oh, I’ll remember that. I’m getting better, my copy editor bought me note books and said, use them or else.
    Then there’s clutter that gets moved from the living room, up the stairs to the laundry and trickles into my lair to eventually dribble into the garage. :-)

    1. There’s a bit on the little pieces of paper in the book BIRD BY BIRD. I so pity whoever is left behind to clean up after me, trying to make sense of scraps of paper that say, “Damn your eyes!” and “At least four.”

      1. “Damn your eyes!” My grandmother used to say that when she was well and truly pissed. It was her version of “fuck you!” Haven’t heard that in years…

    2. Yeah, but I find that the act of writing it down helps me to remember . . . sometimes, anyway. (-: I’ve got some many odd to-do lists floating around — many of them have been washed, so they are to-do lumps.

  11. I wish I could remember who said this, but “There is no such thing as disorder. There are only two types of order. One is living and the other is geometric”. I have had this motto since my college days (the first decade).

  12. My first thought was why would anyone take a picture of the poor man’s office on the day he died? It’s crappy enough being dead without people seeing it as an opportunity for a photoshoot of your office. If anyone did that to me, I’d be tempted to come back and haunt them (paying particular attention to messing with their paperwork). although the chances of me dying a world-famous genius with an interesting desk are admittedly slim. :-)

    1. Well, perhaps they just left it alone and took a picture later? I can just imagine a cleaning lady not wanting to tackle Einstein’s desk!

      1. Want to see an engineer or scientist come unglued? Clean his/her space (office, room, etc) without his/her ok. It’s not pretty and you hear the griping and bitching for years to come. Them brilliant people can really hold a grudge.

  13. And now I want to go clean my office – that’s not how I want to be remembered! Sorry, the Virgo in me just can’t handle it!!

  14. Both my grandfather and great-grandfather were artists – magazine covers, calligraphy – paints, brushes, inks, etc.as part of their daily lives. I have a photo of each in their workspace, placed on a hallway wall across from each other, each surrounded by their work. My great-grandfather is of his time (a hundred years ago), looking dapper with everything neat and in its place. His son’s workspace is crowded, messy and teeming with cats.

    I think there’s room for creativity across the neatness spectrum.

  15. Oh my, death waits for no one to clean up the clutter. Otherwise, we’d have a fool-proof scheme for immortality . . . .

  16. Wow, looks better than my office! Of course, I’ve recently moved and tried to continue working while only half-unpacking. Not necessarily one of my most efficient ideas. 😛 But if someone tried to help me “clean it” I’d have to do bodily harm. I know exactly where everything is!

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