The Stuff On And Around My Desk

I spend a lot of time at my desk looking at everything on it, and I kind of want to talk about it because some of them are interesting. And I like talking about them, but I never do it because I don’t know why.


-New York Giants 2013 calendar because I haven’t taken it down yet

Poster for the ISU jazz band performing at the Brewery last November (

-A couple of awesome postcards from the American Swedish Institute which we had a membership at for a while in the hopes that we could get scholarships for me to go to Sjölunden

-A bookmark which says “Edelweiss” which I colored red to use when reading Die Flaschenpost in my mom’s class senior year

-A computer printout of a John Keats sonnet which Devo (high school journalism adviser) gave me after I presented a poem in class that reminded him of said sonnet and then I really liked it, so I kept it

-My name, which I cut out of a postcard that the University of Chicago sent me, in gothic-y letters with photos inside the outlines of the letters

-A cool language-y postcard that my mom gave me one time (I believe Hannah has one as well) which has a cool language/bilingual person/language nerd joke on it.

-Three index cards with quotes on them – two I found on the Internet, one Goethe

-Another index card with all the German adjective endings you could ever want to know on it

-The tag from the Redbubble shirt Kailyn gave me for Christmas (it’s clothespinned to one of the index cards)

-Two sticky notes telling me what times the gym and pool are open


-A stuffed Dalahäst (those orange Swedish donkeys) that I bought at Sjölunden
-Lots of books (we’ll get to that)
-Goethe and Schiller, two small white busts of famous German authors which I got from Mr. Bird when he retired last year. They very often fall over.
A sticky note that fell off telling me what days the jazz band is playing at the Brewery again this spring
-A pencil jar with a Swedish flag sticking out of it
-Some more books
-Flashcards that I made for jazz improv

-Other (duct tape, loose change, mug, keys, phone)

-Tickets from when I went to see Frozen with Stephen and another couple last night

-School stuff

-Lots of charger cords and things

-A Raymond Carver library book that I probably should return before I forget

-A Doctor Who find-and-search book that one of my fraternity brothers gave me because she is awesome

-An old Nintendo DS that Stephen gave me for Christmas


-A basket that my aunt gave me when I graduated with letters and some folders and other odds and ends

-A GOP elephant beanie baby that my grandpa gave me when I was a senior in college. He and my grandma had come from Minneapolis for Thanksgiving and we were at a restaurant and he pulled it out and said, “This is so everyone at college will know just who you are.”

-A picture frame which is so broken it has a rubber band across one corner to hold the back in; there are pictures of my parents, me with my dad’s parents, me with my sisters, me with Hannah and me with Derek.


-Madeleine L’Engle Herself: a book of cool snippets about writing and life and love and self from all of her writings which Derek gave to me this last Christmas

-A Wrinkle in Time: the copy that my grandma gave to me when I was ten

-Pride and Prejudice: the copy I bought at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis this past summer when I went to see the play version with my sisters and cousin and mom.

-Camilla: I bought it for myself off Amazon.

-A Wind in the Door: The copy that I have actually used to belong to Hannah, but then Derek bought it off her to use to ask me to prom.

-The Arm of the Starfish: From my parents this last Christmas (Stephen actually has it right now because I wanted him to read it).

-Paper Towns: the copy Hannah gave me for Christmas.

-The Fault in Our Stars: the Swedish copy my parents gave me for my eighteenth birthday.

-The Love Letters: the AUTOGRAPHED copy Derek gave me for my eighteenth birthday.

-The Complete Works of Shakespeare: bought at Barnes and Noble with Derek and Montana last summer.

-Kristin Lavransdatter: Graduation gift from Devo because I did a big report on it for his English class.

-Dance in the Desert: Hannah bought it at a garage sale in California and gave it to me for my birthday when she came back.

-Selected Poems of e. e. cummings: Mr. Bird gave it to me when he retired.

A House Like a Lotus and Dragons in the Waters: from my parents this last Christmas.

-Paths to German Poetry from my honorary uncle Craig

-A Swiftly Tilting Planet which I’ve had since I was like twelve

-The Blue Castle: sixteen? seventeen?th birthday gift; also favorite Lucy Maud Montgomery book, like, ever.

-Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: a beautiful little book that my grandfather gave me right before my junior year of high school when they picked me up from Sjölunden. It used to be his father’s.

-Swedish: A Practical Grammar which I bought for 50 cents at a cleaning-house sale at Sjölunden (loppis!).

-201 Swedish Verbs which I bought myself at Sjölunden.

-Teach Yourself Swedish which my dad gave me when I was twelve because he is awesome. 

-Half of a Swedish dictionary which I got for Christmas; the other half which I bought myself at Sjölunden.

Sweden which is a travel book that Doug gave me a long long time ago.

Books are cool. I like things that have stories attached to them. Derek and I were having dinner in the dining hall the other day and I had Paper Towns with me and had underlined some stuff on one page, and he said, “You write in your books?!” and I said, well yeah! And I do. I love writing in my books. Because I know these books will not always be mine. I’ll lose them or give them away or die and my kids will go through them. And I love finding what other people have written in books. So I hope maybe someone will find what I’ve written in my books and think it’s kind of cool.



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