Visiting Jason Pchajek's studio. Jason is the author of Bounty.
If I’m being perfectly honest, it took me a while to decide what I should describe as my “studio,” because to give an accurate picture of where I write, it would mean taking snapshots of the numerous spaces I’ve worked from over the years. My desk at home. The butcherblock counter at my partner’s family cottage where I write and edit during the spring and summer months. The tiny handmade wooden desk in my childhood home where I plugged away at laptops, computers, and notebooks while growing up. My old office at the University of Manitoba’s Department of Sociology and Criminology, where for half a decade I stole gaps of time between lectures, meetings, and study sessions to scribble down the first few thousand words of Bounty.
For simplicity, though, I went with the former—my current setup, the sit-stand desk with gaming PC and dual monitors you see in the images shown here—since it’s where I’ve spent most of my writing time over the past few years.
I work from home, so my “studio” serves many purposes, many of which can be seen arrayed across it, along with markers of who I am as a person. A stack of under-utilized notebooks rests under the right monitor stand, and on the desk’s far left, a bag of metal DnD dice sits next to a tin made to look like the Ford emblem. Above my keyboard is a small golden ball—the Gold Ball for Lotto 6/49, which I helped name as part of my day job working in the lottery industry. There’s also a fake plant—because I’m very forgetful, and if it were real, it would surely be dead by now—and an hourglass-shaped fidget toy—a Christmas gift from when I worked as a sports journalist. It was meant to give me something to focus on during long and boring meetings because I tended to fidget a lot … and still do, really.
That’s probably part of the reason I have a sit-stand desk now. I grew up playing sports, so moving is my natural state, but beyond that, I was one of those kids who could never sit still for more than a few minutes. Not that I would be running around, screaming my head off and being a nuisance, but I would just … leave. I would get bored and wander around, looking at the things around me, experiencing the world; inspecting, learning, and exploring. My mum likes to tell stories about that, so if you ever have the pleasure of meeting her, you can ask.
Now, with this desk, I can wander around my apartment, thinking things over, brainstorming and wondering before rushing back to type out a scene or line of conversation that’s been pestering me for that last hour.
A shelving unit also occupies the wall to the right of my desk and displays other important keepsakes: a framed photo of my family posing for a Christmas card picture; a photo of my girlfriend and I, snapped during a wedding reception; my dice tray used for weekly DnD sessions (for those wondering, I play a tiefling ranger-rouge multiclass); the USB mic I use for podcasting and interviews; an antique clock; and a small Ferrari espresso cup I was gifted because I am an avid Formula 1 fan.
For a writer, there seem to be few things in my space that would tell you that I do, in fact, write books. There’s no stack of half-finished manuscripts, framed photos of me at conferences, or literary awards gathering dust on the shelf (I don’t have any yet, but fingers crossed!). Heck, even my book isn’t here (it’s in our bedroom, sitting in a display box on our bookshelf).
But what is here tells enough of the story about who I am. The space is utilitarian. Multi-functional. It’s the desk of a writer. The office of a business professional. The chill space of a late-twenties gamer and DnD aficionado. A lived-in space of someone who likes things that are old, natural, wooden, but also someone with a keen eye for the new. Machines, motors, technology, and data. I spend so much of my day in and around my desk, plugging away at this clacky RGB keyboard, that the space has become a reflection of the man who sits in it.
It is not a manufactured, catalogue-ready space. It is mine.
Bounty is a bold new vision of a world on the edge of disaster.