Many of us are Homo Sapiens Bureaucraticus. We spend nearly a third of our days influenced by nearby office rectangles: desks, clipboards, typing stands. I am driven to think that these forms drive our bodies into unnatural shapes, bend us into the creeping Morlocks that HG Wells prophesized. Then again, perhaps I need a dose of Cultural Relativism....perhaps a nerd scrunched over a keyboard is as noble a sight as a hunter-gatherer scrunched near the fire telling a buddy, "Yeah, that was a big mammoth, but you should've seen the one that I..." In any event, I am convinced that the office rectangle will bear further scrutiny and variation. Let us look again at the desk, typing stand, clipboard, and satchel.
Step 1: The Horror of the Desk, Oh the Horror!
It is the thing invested with all that is bad and powerful in our video art. In films people can be seen sweeping the detritus away from the conveniently large rectangle to lustify a desireable member of one's sexual preference. Or people enter the room and are faced with a meglomaniac across a Gobi Desert of mahogony expanse, and he says (usually it is a he) "Now, that James Bond is in bonds [bruauh-ha-ha-ha!] shall we discuss how to aim our orbital laser to control the destiny of Earth?" or the more fearsome, "I'll expect that report on Wednesday." If your own desk cultivates no similar allusions, then I cannot help you. But surely your desk has gone a bit out of control from time to time. That's good, all is well, no worries! Whose clean desk ever said that the owner was very useful?
As our job descriptions grow ever more inclusive, the desk must be ever more accomodating. Chaos must be reared higher than before, as measured by inches of potential energy. Use the space above. A new idea? No, you know that, I know that. But design it yourself. You know your own needs, your ergonomics, exactly how far you stretch and yawn, how far you cant over in a faint, how many inches you push back paper to make elbow room, what things you need at hand. In this wooden shelf, I accomdated two realities: my life as a teacher demands two shelves, cognitized vertically -- daily class gear on top, supporting materials below on the lower shelf -- all done up in glowing wood to remind me that these office rectangles once began as flowing organic shapes in a world with no straight lines excepting the flights of subatomic particles of low mass.
In the open space below the shelf, you see a semi-vertical rectangluar surface, canted perfectly to take things demanding doing, and frequently used heavy books. When I am bored, I just randomly open the dictionary and read a word and its derivation, and associatively follow chains of meaning until I'm bored again. When students walk in and see the open dictionary, they know I am serious when I tell them to "look up the goddamned word if you don't understand it." The semi-vertical-leaning-stuff-shelf (the hyphen is your best friend) is free in horizontal space to better adjust to momentary ergonomic needs.
Yes, a yet third semi-vertical surface is present, another book-stand from my ancient days. I can't bear to get rid of it despite that it hasn't yet a well-defined function except to collect official memos from which I will be enacting nothing. Perhaps that's the answer?