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April 16, 2011
A Messy Desk = A Creative Mind
 
It all started when I spotted an ad in the Sunday circular that I believed held the answer to my office-mess quandary: boxes, and lots of them. “Buy two five-packs and get one free,” it said.  Wow, a bargain price. With a grand total of 15 boxes, I was almost certain I would clean up my disheveled desk. Sounded like a plan, but wasn’t so simple when I got to the store.
 
Totally frustrated with the information that “this” store didn’t get “that” special, I settled for my own special and just bought one pack of ten boxes—ten boxes that required me to take two rest stops on the way to the parking lot. You might be wondering, “Why didn’t you take a cart?” A cart never occurred to this messy mind!
 
For some reason, once situated in my car, I checked my receipt:
 
“Take a picture of your messy desk,” the receipt commanded. But how did they know?
 
Freaked at the very thought that someone knew about my messy desk, I slowly scanned the perimeter from my driver’s seat to make sure I wasn’t the next victim of some dumb reality stunt.  But this was no joke; it was for real.
 
It was a contest with the prize of a $10,000 office makeover!
 
You mean other people have this defect? I thought, feeling less cleaning-inadequate. Then I realized the irony of my original intent; it became crystal clear my desk had “makeover winner” written all over it, which also shouted R E P R I E V E and to hell with boxes and cleaning!
 
As I was driving home, a montage of past messy-desk owners I have known flashed through my mind, especially a former copy editor with an ever-so-often quirky ritual.  When the mood struck, she would loudly proclaim: “I am cleaning my desk,” then vanish into her office, locking the door behind. Many hours later she’d resurface and drag me to her office threshold, proudly presenting her newly cleaned desk, announcing, “Look!”
 
She and other cluttered-desk acquaintances I have known felt compelled to explain their desk squalor in order maintain cerebral self-respect. We are embarrassed by our messy desks, yet we continue to live amid the toppling piles. However, no apologies are ever necessary to those who share the special, untidy bond.
 
Do you have a messy desk? That’s a good thing. Consider it a sign of an ingenious person who thinks outside the desk lines. I’ll bet you know where everything is, as each pile signifies its glorious own category:
  1. Urgent
  2. Finished
  3. Keep accessible for at least a decade
  4. Don’t know where to put it
  5. No room left in the files
  6. Bills due
  7. Where’s that garbage can again?
  8. Awaiting the yearly tax box
  9. I might STILL be working for that company
  10. Paid bills
  11. Thank-you notes ready for the big break and all the little ones
  12. More pens than two hands can handle
  13. Rolodex (Old school rules when the computer crashes.)
  14. More bills
  15. Memos
Any left-brained thinker would be lost at a “Where’s Waldo” desk like this, but it’s a clear road map to the clever right-brained.
 
So next time someone tries to look though your office door with aim to shame your messy office décor, tell them to buzz off. This is your own world, beyond what is understood by boring minds. It is a dimension permitted to become as untidy as the office space will allow. This is the only room where your thoughts flow freely. It is your private dimension where you can let loose and escape all space and time. This is not messy. It is an area called “The Creative Zone.”

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Phyllis Briskman is a verse contributor and does PR/marketing. She sharpened her first pencil as retail fashion copywriter, writing to count before Twitter tweeted its first hello. Later, she flew the cubicle to do freelance creative becoming a writer of all trades, from beauty to fitness for catalogs, magazines, and websites. Born to brainstorm, she's named retail businesses and website domains. She loves quick wit, survives on laughter, is a little hokey, but aims to please because that’s what life’s all about.

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