Other Objects of Note As Well

Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash

It can be a finicky thing, setting up my writing surroundings in the right way to pour my heart out. I find the commute between the desk, the couch, and the bed is an impossible equation to solve. Each has its allure and yet knowing that the task at hand is to really write makes all of them less inviting than they seemed just a few seconds ago.

The lovely pillows on the couch are curated to match each other. Blue velvet, a dark grey terry cloth, and a zesty yellow. On the other side, the blue is substituted by a swirly patterned rose, camel, and grey square number that we had ordered and waited for a long time to arrive from IKEA.

Before, the couch had a white throw on it that brightened up the room and hid its red and eau-de-nil stripes. This pattern has a circus-like quality and a gaudiness that makes the rest of the room less chic.

The lighting scheme is complex and an invention of Alexander’s penchant for a curated sense of comfort and warmth. Around the room, there are a variety of floor lamps that can be turned on in different configurations to produce a soft warm glow. The standouts include IKEA paper lanterns and a cooky floor lamp that can be twisted in various directions. There is a dark table lamp and a few bare bulbs on a rod tucked away in a corner behind a tall plant that creates a more pointed source of light but nonetheless adds to the soft ambiance. The table lamp on the desk doesn’t seem quite right and might be one of the first items to go.

There are two overhead bulbs that are also cozy, but he does not like using them. What intrigues me about them is their energy-saving mode where they take a while to arrive at their full brightness after turning them on. Flicking the switch at midday or dawn makes you feel like you maybe turned the light on too early and you’re wasting the electricity, where in fact, they take a while to ramp up how bright they actually are.

I like the one over the coffee table because it’s an incredibly flattering light. Sometimes I like to sit under it and take pictures because of the soft diffusion but harsh shadows that it creates, sculpting a face, collarbone, or pair of abs in a wonderful way.

The couch feels comfortable when I’m reclined and resting on several pillows. Mario Testino’s gilded gold “SIR” serves as an improvised lap desk. I enjoy the way the springs feel under my back, cradling it in a comfortable way that does not flare up my back pain. I think the heavy book has a lot to do with this new sensation of snugness.

My favorite part of the room is the bookcase with its modular square compartments. Each one houses a collection of books, painstakingly collected.

I like to organize them by my own topics: non-fiction, fiction, film, dance, LGBTQ+ novels, poetry, epic novels, and photo books, and they are mixed with Alexander’s smaller, but equally enticing collection of books.

After the last big house cleaning, he took out all the books and organized them following his sense of harmony and order. Next week I plan to reorganize them following my categories but with his attention to shape and size. Perhaps we need to do it together for this to work. 

There are several pieces of art that inspire me in the room like a photograph of a naked man’s back by Alexis Robardet. I like the sun-kissed skin and the way his back highlights his sex appeal but retains some mystery. There is a bubble wrap painting by early Edward Granger that I bought from the artist in NY a few years ago. It captures his rebellious side that we don’t often see in his dreamy geometric works.

There is a wardrobe that is packed to the brim with many of our prized pieces. On top of the wardrobe is my old Samsonite, which right now houses a matching smaller grey Samsonite and two cameras inside it – a Super 8mm Canon camera and a Panasonic VHS camera, both waiting to be unpacked and used. 

On the right is the working desk which houses a desktop computer and some fun memorabilia. I love this nook with the printer, a few tiny cats, and some crystals. Together with the small nightstand that houses our 3 disco balls, this is a warm corner of the living room that suits both work and play.

The working desk seems like a good idea, and we even invested in a comfortable IKEA chair for it, but the laptop seems to demand my full attention, often coaxing me to work from bed or the couch like now. The desk deserves better. 

The dining table is out of service now due to the various bits and pieces that still need to be moved and compartmentalized in order to free up space.

Somehow it feels that we have maybe half a household more than the space allows, but we still make it feel cozy. We are learning to be more mindful and minimal, and yet I can’t find a comfortable way to work from the couch. Just yet. 

I like to pull the computer close to me, but lying down seems to work better when it comes to working from this couch, and today not only did I take a closer look at describing my surroundings, but I also unearthed a new, comfortable mode of working.

Today is also special because the new Pumpkin Chai candle we were gifted by M. fills the air in a curious way. It’s less of a scent but a taste for me. I keep wanting to reach out and eat it. Alexander says it smells like cookies, but for me, this scent is so potent that it doesn’t feel like fragrance at all. It’s more of a presence in my taste buds, demanding that I go for whatever indulgence it invites.

There are some other objects of note as well. But writing this it seems like there is already a hierarchy of what makes it and what doesn’t. Some objects aren’t as loud or exciting. Others seem incongruous with what was outlined so far. So let’s turn things around. You imagine the next paragraph.

There is also a ______ on the big white cupboard. The coffee table is bare, except for the box of __________ that’s been sitting there for months, waiting to be asked for by its curator. The two bath towels are hanging on the ______ where they dry quickly but at the same time bring a sense of drabness to the otherwise pristine space. 

There is a constant hum of a dehumidifier that looks over the laundry, making sure it’s fresh and cool by the next morning. It’s a pleasant sound that rings slightly metallic but is reliable in its intensity. The dehumidifier is a new acquisition but one that does a lot of good for the room and the quick-drying laundry. 

And with that, we have made our circle back to the humble couch where I am typing this out. Once this ritual has taken root, I cannot wait to see what else comes out of it.

Sticky Notes Lesson #2: Taking note of your surroundings by Cole Schafer

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