Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Writers' rooms: Does your reality match the fantasy?

Fixer-upper for a writer, originally uploaded by scrollwork.
I was never one for public blogging. It sounds too close to public flogging. Coffee shop composing? Shudder. I could never write with someone possibly looking over my shoulder. I tried bookstore blogging once—the books and mags were much more interesting than whatever I had going on inside my head. I fled my laptop without finishing a single post.

Still, the idea of a writer's enclave strikes me as romantic. I snapped the picture of the turret-shaped structure above with that in mind. For all I know it could be a guard house. Or a parking attendant's station. Who knows if it really would spark inspiration? I might be too self-reflective: "Look at me, sitting in this perfect little spot, doesn't it look like I'm a bona fide writer?" 

Apparently, the scene in which writers create their scenes holds much fascination for people. The Guardian, a U.K. publication, featured a few of them. What they said about their spaces was as revealing as the photos. I had a "me too!" moment over these ones. (You can click on the writers' names to see the full interview and pictures.)

Anyone who works at home needs a refuge from the rest of the household, as far from the house as possible, and definitely without a phone. Mine is in one corner of the garden, overlooking a vegetable patch and young orchard, and I feel great happiness in it. I am hassled only by the cat - a catflap would reduce the inconvenience.

It doesn't look very tidy, but from childhood I have loved provisionality in a room, something thrown together…

I have a fair assortment of pictures and cards, too. They help engender words.

I use Jstor and Google constantly, so that sitting here, surrounded by my knick-knacks and fetish objects, I am both at peace and fully connected to the world outside. I don't mind being on my own in this little world for hours on end.

After glimpsing their spots, I was shamed into putting a token amount of effort into my own spot.
I noticed most of these writers had books nearby. My desk faced a blank wall in the dining room. I don't like stockpiling books or CDs. I borrow them from the library and promptly usher them out. I never re-read nor re-watch anything, so owning them would be pointless. But we are not without a bookworm in the house. The hubby's secret packrat tendencies are evident in the piles of books that sit at his desk and clutter the couch. We have a presentable enough bookcase in the living room, which has the added photogenic feature of being adjacent to a window. Voila! Instant blog photo opp and YouTube opp. 

Drool away...and then tell me in the comments section what your creative space looks like, if and how you want to change it.