An Appreciation of Danielle Steel's Writing Desk

As a rule of thumb, studies in which writers, even famous and successful ones, work are usually ramshackle—gross, even—unless they’ve been turned into museums already. I don’t think Danielle Steel’s workspace is an outlier, except that it’s a type of disgusting I can really get behind: it’s tacky as hell.

Whimsical, too. Like the Nutcracker-style fantasy of a child who dreams of Danielle Steel novels instead of candy. Also, a bit of a power move. I’ve heard of scrappy writers constructing furniture out of their precious book collections (books are basically tiny pieces of bedside tables), compared to which Steel’s desk projects a sort of preening brutality that I’m absolutely here for.

Anyway, on Wednesday, Vanity Fair published some pictures of Steel’s desk, which the prolific novelist (Steel informs Vanity Fair that she’s written 163 books on her “partially handmade 1946 Olympia standard typewriter”) instructed artisans to build for her 25 years ago.


As someone who only very recently gave up a life of writing in bed for a baby blue “writer’s desk” purchased online, I’m impressed by Steel’s ingenious dramatization of the home office as a form of self-expression. I’ve no doubt it liquifies the egos of all who come across it.

contributing writer, nights

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Adrastra, patron saint of not giving a fuck

Now I need a twitter account detailing the fictional writing desks of famous authors. Emerson’s is just a pile of leaves next to a pond. Mary Shelley’s is her mother’s grave. Ayn Rand writes on the back of Paul Ryan, who considers it an honor.