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May 6, 2009

Having No Desk…

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 6:00 pm

Back in May of 1989, I had no money, no qualifications and no real job. I found myself in a share house with the Brisbane youth sector’s very own Casanova, as well as, a chain smoking Japanese exchange student who hadn’t grasped the notion of emptying an ashtray. Each time he filled a tray, he’d go down to the shops and buy a new one. For some reason, he preferred to do that rather than empty the contents into a bin. Invariably, no one could get into his room because of the piles of cigarette butts and ash, strategically positioned on the carpeted floor. What made this truly disgusting is that I’ve always been a non-smoker.

Most of that winter was spent in a tiny uninsulated room, trying to complete my degree’s third year social work subjects. I had to turn a drawer upside down and balance it on boxes on either side of my legs – just to get a level surface to write on. I can’t remember how much material I wrote in this setting, but it was horribly uncomfortable and incredibly demoralising. I was supposed to become a Physicist, for goodness sake, and here I was churning out Marxist dribble on the bottom of a drawer in Brisbane’s dampest suburb – Graceville.

During my darkest hours in 1989, I often thought about my grandparents and how they had migrated to Australia in order to ensure their descendants had a better standard of living. My parent’s actions inevitably put an end to that dream leaving me to fend for myself. Ill health and a lack of resources subsequently left me homeless. The fact that Graceville’s resident Casanova was kind enough to let me use his spare room, before I froze to death in my antiquated Subaru Sherpa, was my only break.

As someone who values writing above all else, it is interesting to note, that each time I found myself homeless in the late 1980s / early 1990s, the main thing that bothered me was having no desk. My lack of food and the absence of a bed seemed to come a distant second. When I finally bought a new desk, I was so used to “not having” possessions that I found it difficult to give myself permission “to have” the desk – even though it was desperately needed.

Now that its 2009, and life has greatly improved, it’s time to make way for a more functional writing environment, especially if I want to complete that piece of speculative fiction, that has clung to me like a 400 pound gorilla. :) Once the room is set up, I’ll post a few pictures of my custom built writing environment. Regarding my writing from 1989 – thank goodness for wide drawers and cardboard boxes! ;)

Cheers – Vasilios Theodorakis – May 2009

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