The challenge. I didn’t go anywhere. What do I take photographs of? I’ve exhausted my little neighborhood, haven’t I? My world has shrunk, and like many, I don’t really venture beyond a small area. Yes, yes, COVID and all that, but the problem still needs to be solved.

Ah, ha!

What’s on your desk? Here’s what’s on mine:

  • an Acer all-in-one computer with mouse, keyboard, and speakers
  • a lamp and two plants
  • a pencil case filled with pens that need refilling
  • a repurposed jar of jam to hold my pens
  • chapstick, sticky notes, correction tape, and a cat-shaped coaster
  • a cashier’s book that’s dirt cheap used as scratch pad
  • my old journal, the one I’m using, another notebook, and a 2020 planner
  • usually some sort of beverage [coffee, smoothie, tea or water]
I spend the majority of my time here.

I had a lot of free time this month as work goes through another one of its unpredictable changes. Luckily, I have online work to help supplement my income, but its made me realize just how little I need to live. In any case, I’ve been reading and writing a lot, and I thought I’d give you a sneak peek into one of my loves.

Let’s look at those pens again.
I don’t like those stickers they put on them, but if you take them off, they’re sticky! Who wants a sticky pen?

Are you laughing yet? These pens need to be refilled. When I lived in Chiang Rai, they sold refills at the nationwide bookstore chain B2S, but for some reason I can’t find refills in Rayong. And trust me, I always look. I hate the idea of tossing them, too. Maybe I should search online…

I like Paper Mate’s Ink Joy gel pens, but I’m branching out for the sake of cost and sanity. Because my local Tesco doesn’t seem to understand what it means to restock an item. [But lately, they have crates and crates of oil, much to the hilarity of my partner and me. We like to joke about how someone accidentally added an extra ‘0’ when ordering. Seriously. I should take a picture.] Anyway, as you can see, I’m not your basic black or blue pen person. Although, one of my former students gave me a black Muji pen that rocks. I also prefer a 0.7 medium gel size. Not really a fan of thin scratchy ink.

The pens currently in use.
Although, you wouldn’t know it by the thin layer of dust on the jar. Thanks camera phone for picking that up!

Since I journal everyday, I like to change pen colors. I also just realized I have more pens to the left of my desk in another drawer. I’m not one for saving things, but boy, do I hate tossing a pen out. By the way, this Atlantic article on ‘What does your writing implement say about you?‘ is pretty funny.

Outline notes from the memoir I seem to be dragging around through time and space.

My current bad habit is starting to write, then hopping online to check my inboxes: Gmail, Messenger, and TinyLetter, then returning to my morning pages for more scribbling. I’ve also been having a harder time writing those three pages down because I’m eager to get online and get going. Naturally, this is after I’ve meditated for 20 minutes (makes smug expression).

My most recent collection of journals…

When I lived in the States, I don’t remember a great quantity of cutesy journals unless I was in a Sanrio store. But here in Thailand, they love their notebooks with bad English translations (no, I do not buy them), weird quotes, and super girly designs (yes!). Of course, they have plain ones, too.

These are older ones, but the Snoopy ones are new. They’re on the thin side, but I was desperate for new notebooks. (See Tesco) And I love Snoopy.
Older still. I’ve moved away from spiral-bound notebooks and more journal-type books.

Since I move frequently, these are by far the densest things I lug around. Sometimes I have to mail them to my family up North because I loathe heavy suitcases. But they’re my babies. And it looks like this is about five years worth of morning journals. I have more in America, and my earliest diary is from thirty-three years ago. I know, crazy, right? This is what can happen when your family moves to the Mojave Desert when you’re a teenager. Reading and writing become your comforts and joys.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month. Please check out Su’s blog post on the guidelines. πŸ™‚

How was your September? And what’s on your desk?

49 replies on “The Changing Seasons – Sept 2020

    1. Ha! Thanks. That’s because I was trying to write neatly. Normally, I write in cursive because it’s faster. πŸ˜› You know, gotta shave off those seconds! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! Had no idea the pens would do so well. πŸ˜› And yes to plants and more plants! Hope you are doing well, Damianne! xo


  1. Your desk looks a lot like mine!! I have my laptop, a lamp, some pens, current journal and an old diary as well on it. I like displaying my jewelry too – so some of it is on display on my desk like decorative pieces.
    I prefer refilling pens too instead of tossing them but somewhere over the past few years I think it became the norm to just toss them? It’s harder to find refills for even the most common pens. πŸ˜•
    The challenge has such a beautiful name – “The Changing Seasons”!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My earring display is by my ‘vanity’ which I never use. I’m so bad about remembering to wear jewelry. Just thinking the other day how I need to make that extra effort πŸ˜‰

      I don’t know who came up with the name. Possibly Su, or the person who came before her. It is nice, isn’t it?

      And it is hard to find pens that have refills. We should demand justice!!! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also love your gorgeous pens! (I do like the scratchy fine pens though). Pilot precise rolling ball in extra fine, actually. But I’ll write in anything I’ve got around. Your journals are cute too. I also find I’m having trouble writing within reach of my computer. It’s rejection season, I guess–at least for me, the story and essay rejections are coming in–so I combat that by sending out more submissions. Take that, universe! But then I’m not writing. I’ve come to a big climax scene in my novel draft, and I’m nervous, honestly. Eek. OK, back to it. My works been crazy this fall, but I’m finally catching my breath, so I have a bit more time for my creative work. Oh, and my boys were able to go back to school–at school, thank goodness. Here’s hoping it holds. Nice to hear all you’re up to and to get a peak into your desk life!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, although I’m more interested in your submission and writing process! 2019 was my yr dedicated to submitting to mags and then afterwards I decided (even after a few pubs) that I wanted to return to the book. I still take a look at submission calls, etc, but yeah, the rejections. Gets old. Hahahhaa. Actually, it’s a lot of work (all that researching and reading) for little return. I think, but maybe I burned myself out.

      Glad to hear the boys are back at school, school. And I hope you have a productive writing season! Thanks, xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I probably juggle too many things at the same time–trying to write and submit short stories and essays (and some novel excerpts that work as stories) over Submittable mostly, where there’s just too much competition. I feel a little driven because I have one story that’s been a finalist in a couple competitions–but it hasn’t been published…yet. I want to get one or two more good journals on my query letter. But it totally might not matter to agents. A friend of mine is a novelist and she never got a story published. The novel is her thing–I think she’s on #5 now.

        The submitting to journals really is a lot of work, you’re right, and one reason why my novel draft is taking too long. Almost 37K words, so slowly…

        I can’t wait to read your memoir, so keep writing! xo backatcha. ~R.


      2. I might have to find your contact info on your site so we can commiserate πŸ˜› Actually, your comment made me take another look into journals, specifically humor writing, which I’m interested in. I took a specific look at a piece that I haven’t found a home for… Sigh.

        Glad to hear your friend got pub-ed w /out the typical resume. Curious about your novel, too! Keep going πŸ™‚ xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      3. My contact info gets right to my email–so hit me up anytime! I’d love to commiserate on all things publishing, writing, whatever! I’ll try to keep writing on my end, so we can share manuscripts at some point!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your idea for this post. My desk has gone all minimal since I got rid of my (barely functioning) printer. Now I don’t know what to do with all the lovely space.

    I’m like you; I love using a nice pen, but hate throwing them away. I bought a really nice fountain pen last year and fill it from bottles of ink. I do have some of the ink cartridges for when I travel (not that I’ve done much of that this year), but I really like the process of filling the pen reservoir from a bottle. I use Lamy crystal ink which has gorgeous, intense colours and seems to flow really well. It’s not gel (I do have a couple of gel pens too), but I feel really good about not throwing stuff away. The downside would be if I wanted to use multiple colours at once — but I don’t really so it works for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s nice to have a clean working space. πŸ™‚ I wanted to mention my desire to try fountain pens, so I’m glad to hear you use one. I was wondering if it would be a problem being a lefty so I looked it up and there’s this great link showing all these lefties writing in their various ways.

      I’ll need to give it a-go. A nice quiet adventure πŸ™‚ Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a lefty too!!! As a kid, being allowed to write with a pen at school was considered a huge step up, but as the only lefty in the class it just exacerbated all the anxieties I was already developing because my writing was always different to “the norm.” It took years for me just to relax and find a way of writing that works (more or less — legibility is questionable at times). But since I pretty much write for myself these days, I figure that’s ok.

        Liked by 1 person


        Yeah, the school anxiety. I was a little slow to understand why I smudged the ink or the lead, and why I hated spiral notebooks. πŸ˜›

        Remember messy handwriting is a sign of genius!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re too kind! Finding small things that I find beautiful is usually not a problem, just need a better camera to make the captures! πŸ˜› Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What fun, Lani! Thank you for sharing your work space. I love those pens – I use lots of colour too, when I write.

    I work off my Dining Table, so it is only a temporary set up …. not as nice as yours!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You have a neat desk. I have a big beautiful desk downstairs, but I never use it anymore. I sit at the bar, which is close to the coffee and cookies and my desktop computer. It’s not helping my waistline. I use Pentel gel pens. I, too, like a variety of colors.

    I’m not keeping a journal now, but the journals I kept when we were in the Philippines and Vanuatu were really useful when I wrote my new novel, When in Vanuatu. I have a hard time using beautiful journals. They inhibit my creativity. Instead I use plain stenographer’s notebooks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For a long time, I preferred plain journals, even unlined artists sketch pads, so I totally understand. But the cute journals of Asia appeal to me, too!

      Ah, the ‘ol bar and laptop set up. I couldn’t do that even though I had a great bar counter to work on in a previous apt. But I’d rather work on a bar than in bed!

      Here’s to colorful pens and creativity! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a fun post to read, Lani. I love your colourful pens and hope you find those elusive refills. I wanted to throw away my travel journals now with my upcoming move, but my husband told me “over my dead body”. I really admire how you keep your journals and morning pages. I’m sure they come in handy for memoir writing, but I wonder if you ever read them otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Occasionally, I reread them especially if I’m looking to find a date when something happened. But it’s really not specifically for record keeping, I see it more as a way to get my thoughts out of the way πŸ˜› if that makes sense. It’s the habit itself rather than the result.

      Glad you enjoyed the post and that you’ve saved your journals! Happy moving! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, you’ve caught me out. I too have a thing for pens which I’m trying to dial back. And, like you, I’m so picky about the way the ink flows and how thin or fat the point is…but also the feel of the pen in my hand and the smoothness of the ink as it runs onto the paper and how badly it smears after water or coffee or sweaty fingers have smudged it. The most colorful one I’ve ever tried was purple ink. These days I stick to black, blue, red, and…green. Hmmm…truly could write a whole post on pens, I’m thinking….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahha. Yes, stationary addiction. The importance of these tools we use everyday and we appreciate the thought that goes into them. Thanks, A! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Loved this post and glimpse of your world Lani. Your desk is a lot tidier than any of mine. I currently have four…. My computer desk at home, my drawing desk/drafting table, my work desk at the Uni and I confess that since my office-mate moved out I’ve gradually piled up her desk with my stuff too πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh, a free spirit. πŸ˜€ My desk at work has more crap on it but it’s still tidy-ish. I don’t like a lot of stuff. Now, I’m daydreaming of an artist workstation… Thanks!


      1. Free spirit? I guess so! More that tidying up has been deprioritised due to doing other peoples jobs at the moment.
        My drawing desk was not mega expensive and we bought it in Hobbycraft. A great decision.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. You know this post is right up my alley, Lani. I’ve been meaning to film a desk tour but I might just have to start with a blog post. Thank you for the inspo! I like the Zebra Sarasa pens in black, 0.5 (among many writing implements). And as for journals, I think I already told you my trauma of losing all my old journals from 2nd grade through college. But I’m making up for the loss now with several types of journals in rotation (creative, dear diary, health, and my planner). Also I liked seeing your handwriting! I see you’re an all caps gal. πŸ˜€ Also morning pages after meditation? Ok you get to be smug about that! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG. I don’t know if you have told me that trauma. That’s horrible. I don’t want to imagine it, so so sorry.

      I’m not really an all caps gal πŸ˜› I write in lower case when I write cursive, and when I print, all caps, if that makes sense. Normally, I write in cursive, but since I was taking a shot of my handwriting, I chose the neater one πŸ˜›

      Desk tours are fun. You are an absolute MACHINE when it comes to doing videos. I can’t keep up. I’m sure a blog and a vid will be right up your alley, too. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohhh yay I’m glad I’m not the only one with different handwriting for different days. My handwriting also changes greatly depending on the instrument I’m using. Much neater with my fine liners. Much more free and scrawly with my instrument of choice: a felt tip pen. (The Atlantic article you linked was hilarious and also spot on by the way. I DO like to walk on shaggy carpets barefoot! haha)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. πŸ˜€ Oh I’m glad someone clicked over. Loved the “fountain pen’ – ain’t you fancy” bit. I do like a felt tip pen. Need good paper for that. I accidentally got a notebook where the pen can be seen from the other side. No likey!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah I usually prefer thicker paper so there’s no ghosting. And I realllly don’t like only writing on one side of the page. Maybe if it bothers you a lot you could write on one side and tape/glue in ephemera on the other side to cover the see through?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Aahhh! Notebooks, journals and planners! My other favorites beside dark chocolates! I would like to do something like this… but hubby and I are traveling this month, never have time to stop and appreciate what’s on my desk. haha. I’m glad we can find joy even in simple things on our desk.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Lani! I think my original comment drowned in the ether so I’m writing another one. 😁
    Love your pen obsession and those journals are darn cute, especially the Snoopy one! And I’m mighty impressed by your clean and organised desk – how do people do it? πŸ˜‚ Mine is the exact opposite and I’ll make sure not to take pictures of it. πŸ˜‰ Hope you’ll find an opportunity to refill your beloved gel pens! I do the same as Su with mine. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooo, another fancy fountain pen user! πŸ˜€ Thanks, I’ll keep looking, need to look online, I still forget that’s an option for so many things, showing my age πŸ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

  12. How is that Acer desktop computer of yours? Previously I had two Acer laptops in a space of two years and they both went bust – probably won’t buy Acer again.

    My desk is fairly clean. It has my laptop and some books on it, a jewelry dish with rings and necklaces on it and a pen holder with pens, pencils, highlighters and staples. I think pen refills are more common in Asia. Haven’t seen too many pen refills here in Australia even in the stationary shop. That is nice you got a Muji pen from your student and it is a good pen. I have heard good things about Muji pens but they tend to be a bit pricey for my liking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Muji in general is a bit pricey! Yeah, the Acer has been finicky, actually. I can’t tell if it’s Ubuntu (the OS) or the desktop. But since you mentioned your issues I won’t either. It was a cheap computer so perhaps it was you get what you paid for? Who knows. Damn thing.


      1. What I do like from Muji and feel are affordable are their lined notebooks. I remember my Acer laptops were on the pricier end. Maybe you will have better luck with the desktop 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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