Monday, May 25, 2009

A Year Without a Desk

It was exactly a year ago today that I graduated from college. So naturally, I'm engaged in a bit of self-reflection about what it means to have spent a year in "the real world." Or, more particularly, a year in the real world without really writing anything. (And before you say "Marissa, you've published over a hundred blog posts during that time!"--well, yes, I know. And I wonder if my blog is distracting me from what I should be doing, which is playwriting. It is a year since I've really written anything in the medium that I consider my primary medium, and that's a problem.) I can count up what I have accomplished--successfully moving to California, finding two apartments on Craigslist, being one of the few people in this entire country to get hired during October 2008--but I still feel uneasy.

I skipped first grade, as some of you know, so I was young for a college graduate, and am still pretty young now. My mother, with her trademark common sense, has therefore often said to me, "Just think, Marissa, you were supposed to graduate with the class of '09, instead of '08. So it's like you've got a whole extra year in your life that your classmates don't have. A year you can waste, no consequences--and you'll still be ahead of the game."

I told this to some friends of mine a few weeks ago (it was part of a long conversation about how to get me writing plays again) and they said "A year to waste? Don't you know that everyone in the world has about ten wasted years after college?" And I kind of see their point. But at the same time, I don't want to fall into the stereotype of the aimless college grad who takes years to figure out what they want to do in life, spends years puttering around. I am not a patient person, frankly. I'm too impatient with myself to do that.

But instead of thinking of this past year as my Wasted Year, which is too depressing, I am going to christen it with a different name: The Year Without a Desk.

If you'd asked me, before this year, what piece of furniture was most essential to make me a happy girl (excluding the obvious thing that all human beings need--a bed), I'd probably have said "Bookshelves." If I had one physical possession of which I was overweeningly proud, it was my book collection at home in Oregon. And I felt positively insulted by the fact that Vassar dorm rooms didn't come equipped with any kind of bookcase. How did they expect us to learn?

But, you know, I am a big reader, but I am not only a reader. I am someone who engages with what I read, who thinks about and responds to it, who writes. I get a kick out of displaying my book collection on a nice shelf, but frankly, probably nobody else cares about that. But I do think that other people care about my writing. And so, more than a bookshelf, I need a place in my life where I can feel like a writer. I need a desk.

And now--exactly a year after my college graduation, and just over nine months since moving to San Francisco--I finally have one.

For the foreseeable future, marissabidilla will be coming to you live from this desk right here. And yes, this is probably the least messy it will ever be.


Catherine said...

Like Blue van Meer's, right?

Marissa said...

Hah, I can't seem to remember anything in "Calamity Physics" about a desk, but you are not the first person to compare me to Blue Van Meer!