View from Rue Saint-Georges

An Office of One’s Own

The unlikely liberation of commuting to a desk

By Thomas Chatterton Williams | December 19, 2018

I recently rented office space in the Marais section of Paris, several metro stops away from my apartment in the 9th arrondissement. It has been a dozen years since my last office job. In that time, I’ve done the writing that sustains me and my family in a variety of spaces: mostly in cafés, but also at my kitchen and coffee tables, friend’s apartments, hotels, countryside AirBnBs, libraries of all sorts, even my gym. But in recent months, my wife has turned freelance again and begun working from home, so I jumped at the chance to split a light-filled space with a photographer and a barely-there floral designer. (One of the unexpected fringe benefits of this arrangement: the designer works four days a week at a couture house and uses the fifth day to fill our office with impeccable experimentations.)

Many of my friends tell me they would kill not to have to go in to a desk and can’t believe I’ve found liberation in acquiring one. Yet the ritual of shedding my pajamas and getting dressed, of walking to the metro and riding it to the office has done wonders for my process. The hours I spend there are more focused, and when I lock up and go home, I leave my work behind.

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