Do you have a thinking spot in your home? I’ve created a spot in my bedroom, with a desk and artwork. Especially in the afternoon, the light in my thinking spot is perfect. You don’t need a lot of room to create a space to think.

A post in the Small Spaces series.

On Thinking Spots

In the house where I grew up, we had a big attic, and a little attic. We didn’t really use the little attic for storage, and so I took it over as my first thinking spot. I would go in there and read, think, and create clubs that often had no members besides me.

Everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve always had a spot reserved for being alone with my thoughts, even if it was just a chair.

A reading room lost

My last apartment had a reading room, or at least that’s what I called it. Thanks to the best rent deal in Somerville (my former landlord was a friend), I had a two bedroom apartment, utilities included. I had roommates for the first few years, but I had the last five to myself, which meant that I had a reading room. I had it decorated with travel photos and plants, and it was where I went to read and think. It was a most peaceful thinking spot.

Alas, my landlord sold the building, and the new owner planned to gut the place and double the rent (he ruined it—the appliances are nicer, but he destroyed all the character that made the place special), so I moved here. I love this place, but I lost a lot of square footage, and, along with that, a reading room.

Thinking spot, desk
My thinking spot in the morning. Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

I needed a thinking spot

Still, I needed a thinking spot. A place to sit and write.

And so I made one in my tiny bedroom. I love my desk. It came from my parents’ house, where it had sat unused in a spare room. Just before I moved in here in August 2019, I’d visited my parents and worked for a day from this desk. I had a vision of it in my new apartment, and, as they weren’t actively using it, they were willing to part with it.

When I’m not writing at it, the desk has a dandelion floral mat my mom made for me (I love dandelions), some cards with some of my big questions. I made the pen holder back when I was taking pottery classes a million years ago. The tape dispenser came from my sister by way of Italy, and the humorous F-bomb paperweight I inherited from a coworker when he left, and I’ve added a couple of vintage Fire King pieces.

Wild Geese

Art marks the spot

To create a sense of a separate spot, I’ve hung things up on the wall.

A Lewis Hine print of a construction worker, casually taking a smoke break, high up on the Empire State Building scaffolding with spoke to me when I saw it at the Met years ago. I love the Chrysler Building, which features in the background, but it’s the contrast of the workers back and shoulders against all of the straight lines, and the curve of the Chrysler building that really gets me.

I took the photos above on my walks around the neighborhood. Along the back wall is Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese, illustrated by my sister. Remembering that I do not need to be good comforts me.

Thinking spot
My thinking spot in the afternoon light. Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

A perfect thinking spot for me

In the afternoon, the light hits it in a way that makes me so very happy. I look out the window, and think. Sometimes, when I sit at my desk, I imagine people who’ve passed through this old building over the years and wonder what kind of lives were lived here. 

Where do you do your thinking?

What about you? Where’s your thinking spot? Let me know in the comments!

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