A friend, invited to speak at a conference on how to organize, asked for helpful tips on how I manage my office. 

If she’d ever glimpsed my workspace, she would have deleted my name from her e-mail blast before hitting SEND. 

For in the loft office, 6 steps up from my tidy bedroom, works a derelict.  

I may be the most disorganized working person in the universe. It’s almost laughable, since I relish taking charge in other aspects of my life, striving for order and efficiency.

This is a woman who empties wastebaskets, wipes countertops and runs vinegar through the coffeemaker with disturbing regularity.

Yet in my office, I’m a slob.

How slobby am I?

Let me count the ways …

 Not a square inch of white desktop is visible.

To the left of my monitor, a crystal paperweight anchors a stack of to-do notes, some from 1998.

Horizontal files cover the floor: one for materials related to the memoir I’m writing, another for my Frommer’s guidebook, a third for travel pieces I’m working on, a fourth for unclassifiable flotsam. 

The utility table I bought several years ago for deck barbecues and dinner parties I never host, groans under piles of periodicals, newspaper clippings (yes, I still clip newspapers) and assorted stuff I need to go through when I have nothing better to do.  

Under the table you’ll find milk cartons full of maps and travel-related memorabilia and  tax info (just in case Uncle Sam pays a call to find out why I work so many hours and earn less than a 16-year-old hamburger-flipper).  

Despite the disarray, I  can usually find what I need within a week. 

I understand why my M.O. shouts dysfunctional to anyone considered sane. And it works for me.

I’ve never won awards for linear thinking. But somehow, I get the job done.  

And twice a year—three, if I’m really bored—I shift into ruthless mode and fill several Santa-size sacks with recyclable paper.

Yet my pleasure at having achieved order is short-lived. And I am compelled to restore chaos. The sooner the better.

In between these search-and-destroy missions, I live in fear that someone–my agent, editor or, worse yet, my mother–will arrive unannounced and discover my dirty little secret.


2 responses to “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK

  1. Love your style! Hope to see you in Ramrod soon!
    Billy and Elena

  2. Hi Beth,
    Ah! organized chaos 🙂 Funny that I can reorganize the office where I am working, but when it comes to my own corner office in my living room I just can’t seem to find a tidy way to organize it. Guess it is hard when we are to close emotionally.

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