5 THINGS I ALWAYS HAVE ON MY DESK

Workspace decor is important.
  1. This Montblanc pen.
    In 1998, I left my job waiting tables at The Flying Burrito to begin teaching creative writing at UNC. My co-workers took up a collection to buy me this. The idea was Lara Tucker's: she was a poet and understood how much it would mean to me. She has since passed away.
  2. My mom's old piggy bank.
    For all of my childhood, this sat in the kitchen, right by the sink. Whenever I look at it, I think of my mom cooking dinner on weeknights with All Things Considered playing in the background.
  3. My aunt Bobby's baby cup.
    I didn't realize until after she passed away that her name was actually Caroline, not Barbara. Not sure why she changed it. It seems awful I didn't know this crucial fact.
  4. Shells collected from beach in Emerald Isle, NC.
    So it always feels a little like summer in one of my favorite places.
  5. Inspirational Broad City art made by my babysitter Hannah.
    She knew I was having trouble writing. I keep it taped to my monitor.
  6. More Bubble Gum and Root Beer dumdums than I could ever possibly eat.
    They are big part of my latest book, and I love that people bring them to my events. Also when they have them at my bank it feels like a good sign.