The English Department is quiet and serene, a peaceful oasis in the jungle of academia. English people stay behind their office doors reading. And writing. Quietly.
But the English Department is also crowded, and being the lowest person on the totem pole I get to have an office in a different department on campus (which shall remain nameless). A department that is filled with extroverts. Who leave their office doors open. And who shout to one another across the department.
"HEY, BERT, WANT SOME COFFEE?"
"SURE, SALLY. THAT WOULD BE GREAT! AND DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE STUDENT I WAS HAVING TROUBLE WITH LAST WEEK?"
No, Bert, you didn't, but I'm sure we'd all love to hear about her. Not.
Truly, I'm not complaining . . . even though I am. I appreciate having a place to meet with students and sometimes to just close the door and think.
This semester, one of my goals is to use my office to write more. I'm only teaching one class, so I'd love to take some extra time to use that space as long as I have it.
Of course I might have to buy shares of Pandora for all the free music I'll be playing to DROWN OUT ALL THE NOISE.
But the thing is . . . and here's where I have to lay myself open and be very vulnerable with you . . . my office is kinda, dare I say, ugly. If I'm going to be inspired to write, I think I should have a space that's, well, inspiring. All this space does is inspire me to grade papers--harshly--and to make comments like, "Expand this idea" or "Is this sentence necessary?"
And have I mentioned that it doesn't have a window?
Brace yourself, I'm going to show you a picture.
This is the view from the doorway; it's what I see every morning when I arrive.
Note the stone wall--the only semi-interesting aspect of this room. Note, also, the lack of books (that comes with the lack of Ph.D).
Here's the same little room from a slightly different angle.
Several things to point out here. First, the only "decoration" is the teeny-tiny post-it note on the wall--my reminder of the computing services department phone number. I've called them a few times this year.
Second, notice the desktop computer tucked away behind the filing cabinet. My calls to computing services are usually to say, "Hey, any chance you could get this big, huge, hulk-of-a-computer out of here? I use my own laptop and have no need of your hideous desktop."
And then there's the filing cabinet. Enormous, to say the least; ugly, to say some more. The only splash of color in this entire photo is the teal-colored box sitting on top of the filing cabinet that has been there since I took possession of this office last summer. I have no idea what it's for. But have I taken the initiative to get rid of it? No, I have not.
And finally, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, here's the view from my desk to the door.
One little table that I use when I have conferences with students. One chair that looks like it's from the 1970's. And one old telephone sitting way back on that shelf. I would bet you a million bucks that no matter who I called to come take that phone away, it will still be sitting there at the end of the semester.
So now, here's the challenge: tell me what to do to spruce up this office. It really is time to do something with it.
Obviously I need pictures on the wall. I'm thinking something like this:
Cool, huh? Those might be a little pricey, though, for an office that is probably temporary.
I'm really not much of a decorator, so I need your input, dear readers. What do I need?
Photos of the fam? A colorful throw for the chair? Flowers for the table?
So tell me, what would you do to spruce up this windowless office?