The State of the Office
Posted on August 15, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 73 Comments
As of August 15, 2009:
You should see the expression Krissy gets on her face every time she comes in here. On the other hand, no, maybe you shouldn’t. We do intend to overhaul it at some point in the reasonably near future, but, man. It’ll be some work this time.
Scalzi, you are going to have to hang the Hugo from the ceiling. which is actually a rather cool idea.
Heh. Your books are neatly organized into piles, for crying out loud. What’s her problem. In my office, the books are starting to exhibit *tides*.
Ooh, I need to save this picture the next time my wife complains I need to give away some of my books. Besides, a creative mess is better than tidy idleness. (Yes, I did steal that from somewhere.)
I took one look at the photo and immediately felt better about my own office. So thanks!
I thought tolerant wife is tolerant.
Actually, I think that looks rather cozy.
I know several multiple patent holders with the same decorator.
You should have contests and give books away to the winners. (Unless of course you like shelves and shelves of books. I know I do.)
Or is there a publishing rule requiring you not to give away or sell the books you receive?
I don’t get it, what’s the problem?
As long as the towers of books aren’t taller than their owner, there’s no danger of being buried alive yet.
Also, as long as you have a clear line of sight from the door to the opposite-wall window, the room is acceptably neat.
You appear to have a serious book infestation. I recommend you call Borkin Book Control Services immediately – they will visit with flamethrowers and dustbins.
Also – just bought and read Agent to the Stars the other day. Fantastic.
That’s not fair. That’s not fair at all. There was time now. There was all the time I needed… ! It’s not fair!
#1Womyn2me: The Hugo of Damocles? Nice . . .
@ #1 — Hang the Hugo from the ceiling? Yup, and the next day’s headline is “SF writer injured by falling meteoroid object; says there was a rocket on it”.
Is there a desk in there somewhere?
Didn’t you just clean your office?
Not that I should talk, ours is just as bad.
Man your office looks so much worse than mine, I feel better already. Thanks!
Looks quite good to me — apparently it’s possible to get from one end to the other without stepping (much less climbing) over more than one or two piles of Stuph. The only glaring flaw is those vertical areas (I believe they’re called “walls”) that are not surfaced with bookshelves, as Nature intended them to be.
Believe it or not, my room is messier.
I’m with Don – the only problem I see is the lack of bookshelves. Even basic plank-and-brick shelves would be better than that. Or hit freecycle and see what you can get, that’s how we’ve got most of our shelves. Which is how I got my books and stuff out of the metalworking shop.
Ikea, the only place to go when you have a “symmetrical book stacking” problem.
As a group my family has purchased 14 bookshelves and 9 CD/DVD shelves in the last few months and our piles of books on the floor or in boxes problem magically disappeared. This, for a family of 4. Did you know that bookwormitus is a double reinforced inheritable trait? I can assure you that it is, but my wife and I don’t see it as a parenting problem for some reason.
It’s cool to see “THE CITY & YTIC EHT” front and center. It’s just moved to the on deck circle in my reading lineup.
Mine is even worse. And I can’t even find my digital camera to take a picture.
If he hangs it from the ceiling, perhaps he should put it point down like the sword of Damocles. Then he can write with the fear of Hugo duly marinating every word.
(Ah, man, that’s what I get for not reading the comments far enough. Patrick at 13 hath beat me to the punch.)
Guillermo del Toro has a second house for his books. You could try that. You’re a Rich Famous Author, ain’t you?
I don’t think I want to commute to my books.
That’s not too bad, as long as you know where everything is and it’s not unsafe, tidiness is relative :)
It’s better to have an “untidy” working area, and know where everything is (and have it to hand), than a tidy work area and spend all day trying to find the doodah, widget or note that you need.
Of course scrap that if you’re working with materials that are dangerous (didn’t someone once say ideas are/were dangerous tough?).
That’s pretty much what my room looks like although there are piles of clothes interspersed in the piles of books. My office is surprisingly clean and all the books are on shelves at the moment.
Still as long as you have a path to walk through it can’t be that bad right?
You’re still nowhere near Chip Delaney level crowded. Also, there’s valuable wall space that’s not taken up by book cases.
John, have you ever posted a full synopsis of one of your books, OMW in particular? I’m preparing one right now, using the four synopses on Robert J. Sawyer’s site as proven examples. Heck, he won a Hugo and a Nebula with those synopses leading the way. Just curious . . .
“Heck, he won a Hugo and a Nebula with those synopses leading the way.”
I’m not entirely sure they were in any way causative.
Also, no. Because I am lazy. Someone else can do it, however, if they so choose.
Shelves dude, shelves.
Only needs one thing – more books
Tina @ 33 – that’s like saying that food needs more bacon. Sorta obvious.
I was just assaulted by young children demanding books. Looks like you’re well equipped to deal with the threat.
Does anyone remember an Asimov character called “Wendel Urth”?
Oh, and just finished reading [i]Zoe’s Tale[/i]. I think it’s your best book to date. Far more engaging. I mean, I liked the other books, but this one got to me a couple of times in a way that the others just didn’t.
Only thing I could think of is a sign I once read
A Cluttered office is the Domain of a Brilliant Mind !
Upper right corner.
What’s impaled on the Hugo?
I love when you post these pics. My home office is about the same size and (for the moment) I can see more of my floor than you can see of yours.
Therefore… it isn’t time to clean my office yet. Thanks, John!
This picture is like porn to me.
I have a three-day weekend coming up, can I rent a corner in your office space? I’ll sleep in a hanging wall tent. Man, your office is like an amusement park for aspiring writers. Mountains of signed hardcovers as far as shortsighted eyes can see, cases of Coke Zero, and a nuclear-powered gaming system. I mean, what more does a man really need!? Your pets can play with my Japanese girlfriend, Reboot, if they want.
Looks like it’s time for a donation to the local liberry. Let ’em go, man. Let ’em go. *pat pat*
@Berry: I’m pretty sure that’s a headcrab with a rocket in its pocket.
Your library bears a striking resemblance to ours before the Long Suffering One forced everything into the shelves again.
He says I have to put the weaving materials away, though, drat it.
Thank you, after showing the picture to my wife, maybe she will cut me some slack on my projects. Woodworking creates it’s own flavor of mess. Lately, that flavor has been walnut.
Commuting to your books… now there’s a thought. My father sort of does it (he’s a university professor), but inevitably it just means that he has three times as many books as anyone else I know.
The custodial staff at the university have refused for years to go in there because of all his stuff. I shudder to think in what condition it is currently…
Your office looks better than some I’ve seen, on the whole.
Heh. I’ve taken to keeping my desk clear and workspace largely empty these days. T’other Half commented on this and said I must find it a lot easier to work like that.
“Damn right! You don’t come in and spend time telling me how you don’t know how anyone can work in a mess like that. And you’ve stopped saying how unprofessional it looks in here!”
The bruises should have cleared up by next week. I never learn…
It does look like a lot of work. And on a supernatural level I even feel sorry for you, because, no “human” could stack books like that. I put it to you that it is part of your Karmic debt due to your success and as a result of your exponential busyness stemming from that success. So, hey, at least you have got an excuse.
You need new bookshelves even more than I do, John, and I really need new bookshelves right now.
Hang a few swords on the walls and it would look a bit like Robert Jordan’s office used to. http://www.dragonmount.com/RobertJordan/?p=92
Ok. Jordan had shelves.
The real question, Scalzi, is do you know where specific books are in there? Or to the nearest cubic foot at least.
I know where everything is.
I don’t feel so bad with my stacks of books in my living room. (Luckily I live alone so there’s no one to nag me). Most are up against one wall. One note – I’ve found that paperbacks stack fine until the stack gets to about 4 feet high. Anything over that and you’re into spillage territory.
Maybe you should take a photo of Krissy’s expression the next time she walks by your office and post it.
What does Athena think of your office? Do you have a problem getting her to clean up her room because, well, Daddy doesn’t clean up his?
Everything within arms reach of the swivel chair. Brilliant!
@ Xian B
That’s a relief. Then again, it could’ve had the makings of a nice Chthonian diorama …
I share my office space with my wife. Who is German-American. Who insists that there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.
John, I am reminded of that post you made a couple years ago where Krissy barged into your office wearing some sort of headscarf and booted you out in order to order it. I remember showing that post to my wife and she was cheering her on. I showed her your photo and she said, at this point, only IKEA can help.
[Deleted because comment has nothing to do with post — JS]
Who was that masked troll?
Or are we having tryouts for “Hatemail II, the Anarchist of Ohio”
@MasterThief Oh, I know exactly where my digital camera is. I managed to save it from the mess, in the hopes that I would be shamed into cleaning said mess by posting videos to a Youtube channel dedicated to that very purpose. It worked, and yet my room is still not as clean as Scalzi’s office in the photo above. I’m still in the “cleaning” phase!
What a beautiful office! Oh only if I could get away with such a glorious workspace. Scalzi, you are the man.
To #36, Mr Teufel:
Yes I remember Wendell. I read nearly all of Asimov’s fiction (plus assorted nonfic such as his Annotated Alice and Annotated G&S) when I went through high school.
correction: Annotated Alice was edited by Martin Gardner, NOT Dr. Asimov. Early morning, I forgot to double-check my memory before posting.
So I really enjoy that your Hugo has been relegated to hat rack. I know you’re just keepin’ it real.
To #36 :
Oh yes, I absolutely love Wendell Urth! I know I have the book somewhere, errrrr…
My partner is an artist. I’m a writer. Our entire house sort of looks like that, but scatter around some more canvases and wire sculptures and dangerous sharp objects on the floor. (Except, weirdly, the office. Which is actually the library, because no work gets done in there. I’m a “couch w/ laptop and notebooks spread around in a strange halo” sort of person.)
build a wall of bookcases that go to the ceiling – potential storage space is a wasting
I got lost and disorganized just looking at that photo.
But… I’ve gone through phases like that, and since John knows where everything is, no harm.
Dude. You make me look neat (and that takes some serious doing!)
Looks like a lot of that is books. Perhaps ARCs and review copies? Sounds like it’s time for another donation or fundraising auction for your local public library.
Two words: Vertical storage.
Excuse me, but at least you can see the floor of your office.
So your office is much better organized right now than my studio. I can haz bulldozers naio?
Oops. Did I say that out loud?
I remember when you showed off your beautiful neat office a while back and I was totally jealous. I grin now because it looks like MY study. I have floorspace in the middle for walking, nyah.
And I’ll bet you know exactly where every single thing is, too.
My den looks like that until I clean it, and find that I cannot find ANYTHING, anymore.