So ... I could cover it with stuff that looks nicer!
I wouldn't want to start an unfamiliar craft process with such a large and un-throw-away-able object, so I've been thinking of doing something smaller to get my feet wet. Maybe I could start with a bit of decoupage on the wooden set of drawers that sits on *top* of my desk. I got this little set of drawers (a little over 1 foot square altogether) for just a couple bucks, and it's way ugly, but all it needs is some paint and maybe some cool design.
The two potential materials/themes for decoupage that are in my mind right now:
1. Postcards - I sent tons of postcards during my travels at various times, and some of the recipients (my mom, most notably) gave me the postcards afterward so I could keep them as a memento. I have a huge number of these from my year in Scotland, for example. And I think there's a stack of ones Mom and I sent home on our European trip in 1987, as well. Both the front and back of every postcard in this collection brings back wonderful memories! Maybe I could use these on my (physical) desktop somehow? Perhaps I could even alternate whether front/back was face-up, depending on whether the photo or text was most interesting. I have to think about how to do this without making the desk surface so busy that I would never be able to locate anything I set on it! Surely there must be some way to do this.
2. Dad - Since he died in 2007, I've had all kinds of stuff in a box labeled "Dad" -- letters, envelopes, photos, small drawings and paintings he did, social security card, official military papers, etc. -- and I have no idea what to do with all of it. It sort of appeals to me to do something collagey with some of it, but ... what does one do with that kind of collage when it's finished? I mean, none of the people I know who would value such a thing would be willing to take it from me, since it would be constructed from items that could not be replaced. I don't know if I would want to hang it on my wall. It's more the process of making it that appeals to me. Maybe what I should do is make a collection of collages in a scrapbook ... it would make for convenient storage, and I could scan the pages to share them with my dad's friends and other interested family. Hmmm. I need to think further.
Right now I'm still mostly in the research stage. It's fun to be contemplating new projects, though.