Rewriting the Space Wars

Welcome to Jennifer’s workstation in Iowa City, Iowa, USA!

Does this type of setup look recognizable or unusual, ordinary or unfamiliar? While everyone has a “workstation,” not everyone works in a cubicle. What does your workstation look like?

Take a peek at Jennifer’s responses to the three questions to find out a little bit more about her and what’s going on in her space.


What type of work do you do at your workstation?

“This is my desk at home. Most of the work I do here is posting on my blog or working on my current novel project. I’m here in the morning for one to four hours, depending on whether or not I have to do my “real job” that day.”

What do you like the most and dislike the most about your workstation?

“I love my chair. Everything on it is adjustable. For years, writing left me in pain, then I got a new chair. Duh!
I hate the room, because the space reflects my husband’s interests more than mine. We share the office. If I had full control of the space, it would hold my books, overlook a lake, and be decorated with Wagalabagala art.”

How does your workstation reflect who you are?

  • I’ve got a picture of my 18 year-old self with my dad, brother, and sister. It says, “La Familia” on it. I love that I have this picture of my youth. I’ve got the support of the people with me, and also, the Spanish reminds me of how much I value being bilingual.
  • Headphones with a mic. These are for gaming with my husband:)
  • My Hawkeye coaster. It used to live at my mom’s house, but I took it when I moved out. Now it’s stained by my morning coffee. It also represents my alma mater. Go Hawks!
  • A pile of non-disclosure agreements and a composition notebook. These show that I’m in the beta stage of my current manuscript, but I’m also looking forward to the future!
  • Taylor Mali poetry CD. A student got it signed for me. I love poetry, and I love teaching.

What do I see when I look at this picture and read the responses?

This workstation is all about a woman with priorities. Jennifer clearly doesn’t allow a nontailored work area to stop her from plugging away at her goals. With the family photo to gaze at and an enviable chair to lean back in, Jennifer makes do. What I don’t see is a cubicle in the corporate office sense. Without the powers that be dictating the bland cubicle existence, the ambiance of the home office is only limited by the imagination. Jennifer may be taking a backseat to her husband’s decorating choices, but the opportunity to transform the space (or at least a portion of it) is there for the taking. It’s hard to look at the stuff around Jennifer’s desk and not associate it all to her: the lava lamp, the box of tissues, and what looks like the sword of Damocles hanging on the wall. Like it or not, the room does reflect Jennifer’s interests. . . if one of her interests happens to be her husband!

What is positive about this space, in my opinion?

The space may be shared, and the desk may be small, but there is something positive about this workstation. Any guesses? Jennifer looks relaxed, happy, and comfortable in that oh-so-adjustable chair. Of course, that could be a result of summertime. Her husband may be winning the space war, but Jennifer isn’t going to let that get in the way of accomplishing whatever needs to be accomplished on any given day: writing, gaming, blogging, using the Hawkeye coaster, listening to poetry, or getting ready for a new year of teaching. All of this will happen in a space that may not be ideal, but it will happen in a space that is functional. The room has a computer (or two), the Internet, a printer, and swords on the wall to ward off intruders, distractions, or whatever else that tries to stop progress. Some of the progress could include filling up that inviting blank wall space with the special artwork Jennifer is so fond of (Wagalabagala) or maybe a photo of a lake. Or maybe Jennifer can put up a wall shelf to showcase a hardcover copy of her first novel. Write on, Amiga!

Are you interested in participating in this informal anthropological project? I hope you are! Send me a picture of your workstation (preferably with you in it, but you don’t necessarily have to look into the camera), along with your answers to these questions:

  • What type of work do you do at your workstation?
  • What do you like the most and dislike the most about your workstation?
  • How does your workstation reflect who you are?

Is it okay to include your first name and your city, state, and country, or would you prefer to remain anonymous? By choosing to share your workstation (your desk) with me, you agree to have your picture(s) and words publicized without expectation of any remuneration other than the sheer joy of sharing a snippet of your life with others. I will also provide a bit of observational commentary.

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