Introducing: Messy Ass Spaces
Not all workspaces can be perfect. Some, in fact, look like butt.
Hi everyone: Before I show you my MAS (Messy Ass Space), I gotta tell ya I am working on Act Two and Three of the Rom Com series and it’s so crazy and good that a bunch of studios have asked to maybe hopefully definitely make it into a huge movie trilogy and so we have to wait until at least Thursday to publish!
I told the studios no matter what I publish it to my readers at Both Are True FIRST and they said no problem we love Both Are True then they said it’s their favorite. Actually they said, “It’s our favorite newsletter of every studio of every newsletter.” That’s a direct quote.
Messy Ass Spaces
I wrote this essay in August 2022, back when there were only 400 of you knucklefarts here. Now? There’s at least 100x that (Substack won’t give me exact numbers they say the servers will break if they try.
ANYWYAY - I’m reviving the MASBAT experience and thus wanted to kick things off with, well, the kickoff. Last year’s response was so wild that the NYTimes called it “so frikkin good” while the National Review said “wow that’s a big hunk of good stuff.” You rarely see such love from both sides of the aisle, and that includes weddings!!!
If you would like to have your MAS featured on the live television that is Both Are True, send me photos of your messy ass spaces to firstname.lastname@example.org!!
There’s a trend online or at least in my little corner of the online where fancy important people share PERFECT photos of their IMMACULATE and SLEEK workspaces. Everything is shiny and new and quirky! And just so, so clean, like there’s so much empty space between everything?
Sometimes god forbid there are even these photos:
I have nothing against these spaces or the people who share them - I’m sure they are wonderful - I just have never seen one in my real actual life.
My desk and the desks of those I know are absolute shitstorms, explosions of the manic depressive, coffee cups akimbo, boulevards of broken usb cords, etc.
In short: I am a mess and so is my space.
And with that, I am beyond thrilled to share the first installment of Both Are True’s first series: Messy Ass Spaces!!!
I know what you’re thinking - there’s something weird and off about that title - ‘Messy Ass Spaces’ - and you are correct! Because even the title is messy! There are six instances of the letter S in there! I kept looking at it and trying to change it but then I was like wait, the medium is the massage, this is perfect.
So without further adele, I bring you the first of many Messy Ass Spaces - my own.
Alex Dobrenko’s Messy Ass Space
Here’s my desk. It’s a mess.
Classic shot from above, ft. me the artist and owner of the space.
Here’s a close up of the stuff on the desk including my page of doodles. I can’t draw so I just do little arrows. There also is a thing of twenty cards I bought from Paper Source because I have recently decided to become “a greeting card guy”.
In the back left you can see a tintype Lauren gave me a few years ago of her and Robert.
Here’s all my gear:
bic lighter, incense (not pictured), and incense holder.
32 gb thumb drive for some reason
tongue cleaner I bought on amazon once
tiny moleskin notebook full of blah blah blah
yellow case - toenail clippers
bose headphone case
purple book written by my friend the great poet Laura Brown Lavoiee - still need to read the book
old airpod case that says “old” on it - doesn’t work anymore because I put them in the wash
some old ass adapter that connects a sega genesis to my tv
another photo of lauren and I - if you look closely you can see its cracked.
some air freshener stuff I never use
case of abreva for my cold sores
Here’s a close up look at my gross ass mousepad. And there is a tintype we took for Wilder’s first birthday. We haven’t found a good frame for it so it just sort of sits there.
This is a calculator thing that came with my keyboard. I don’t ever use it but hey its nice to know its there. Also again notice all the crumbs and dirt. Is that bread? I genuinely don’t know what I am eating at the desk that leaves these crumbs.
Here’s a wide shot so you can see that my office is, in fact, in the living room. There is baby Wilder looking at his books. He often walks over to my office to have a chat and see what I’m working on. Also he now will just walk over there when I’m not around and pull random cables, hide hard drives, etc. It’s a classic Jim and Dwight sort of relationship.
Also see that black hard back chair thing on the ground? I bought that for meditation and I think it was a scam because basically every floor + wall can do the same thing.
A look at my awful cable management. Also a box of ink cartridges for a printer we don’t have anymore. Also there’s a pair of Lauren’s birkinstocks down here. We have the same size foot so I can wear her shoes. Actually her foot is bigger but delete this part.
A letter Wilder wrote to me. Given that he’s 1 year old, this is incredible.
I got these little figurines in Austin from Uncommon Objects, a badass vintage shop with weird trinkets galore. They represent me and Lauren as an old Russian babushka and dedushka. They are meant to sit atop the monitor stand - I told Lauren that if the babushka falls, that’s a bad omen for her, and if the dedushka falls, that’s a bad omen for me. And if they both fall, that’s a bad omen for the relationship. They must have fallen weeks ago…Uh oh.
🤝 Share Your Messy Ass Space
Do you have a messy ass space that you’d like to share with the world? Now you can! Simply e-mail us at email@example.com with the details and/or photos and we’ll feature you in an upcoming newsletter.
Want to support Both Are True? Now you can with a monthly subscription that costs less than whatever the fuck this is.
😎 Subscribe to this messy ass newsletter
Both Are True is a Pulitzer-prize winning, multi-platinum, two Emmy’s a year average newsletter. You can subscribe for free.
AND ALSO you can support my dream of telling everyone at the high school reunion that I am a writer by becoming a paid subscriber. Cool!
💬 Messy ass comments
Where do you fall on the Messy Mel ———— Tidy Tim spectrum?
Do you like how messy or tidy you are? Why or why not?
How do other people in your life feel about your mess / tide?
If you’re good at being tidy HOW DO YOU DO IT give me detailed instructions I need step by step please imagine you’re telling an alien baby who hates cleaning!
these workspaces feel like the inside of Steve Jobs’ asshole may he RIP. Originally I put this in the actual essay but its a bit ‘hardcore’ so thus I share it only with those crazy enough to brave the footnotes.
I'm an "organized piles" mess. I pile things up, in plain view, but they are piles of like things that represent a full collection of such things. For instance, I have my tax documents piled up behind my computer, the books I've read and want to get off my shelves piled in a corner, my everyday carry and backpack stuff piled up on a chair right beside the exit.
Drives my wife mad. She's the "it's clean if it's invisible" mess type. Things must go in drawers and boxes and containers and belljars or whatever. Doesn't matter if they're related to each other: envelopes can be shelved with books and thumbtacks, while the drawer under my computer is stuffed with open board games and candy. As long as something has a container, it's clean.
Drives me mad. I never know where anything is because a) can't see it and b) things are not organized by likeness, so if I need to write a letter, the envelopes are in one room, the pen in a different room, the stamps are magnetted to the refrigerator and the writing paper is stuffed under the bed.
Obviously the best solution is for us to adopt the good part of each other's cleaning style and do it together, so that the tax forms are collected together stuffed under the bed, the writing materials are stuffed together in the desk, the board games are piled under the giveaway books on the shelves, and my everyday carry and backback stuff remain right beside the door where is practical, but sure let's switch that chair with a cabinet or something.
I feel seen