I’ve always been intrigued by peeking in on other writer’s desks or spaces. Maybe I think I’m going to spot something on their desk that unveils the secret of the writing universe. Or maybe I think I’m going to spy the exact item that leads to immediate publication. But mostly, I guess, I just enjoy knowing what inspires people, what makes their brains click into that mode that channels the muses and lets them pour out hundreds of thousands of imaginary words on a page.
My own writing space has been in existence for more than 10 years. Certain things have changed in minor ways – I used to have a fax machine that began to feel archaic a few years ago, so I ditched it. And that printer has changed shapes, sizes and brands more times than I can count. The chair is an “upgrade” from an uncomfortable one I used for years, and the stacks of papers, of course, change constantly – depending on whether I’m sending out the book club evite or writing the next chapter of Fin and Giselle. I always use bright-colored file folders that balance into more and more precarious stacks: blue means one thing to me, red another, yellow another, etc. It’s my vague way of feeling organized, despite the usual mess.
The things that have always stayed the same, however, are the things I most love: The photos on the wall have been there for 12 years, and were old even then – they were taken by me and my husband in the years we were dating or the early years of our marriage. The photos on the desk, right underneath the computer, are of my children when they were 1 year old or 2 – obviously I don’t update them much (I love remembering their chubby cheeks). The frames were all gifts from former workmates.
The paint on the wall has been there for more than 10 years, too. I wasn’t able to paint all the way up the wall (because there is a shelf about a foot from the ceiling that runs all the way around the room to hold books) so I decided to just paint half the wall and add a chair rail. I chose a fall color, because fall colors are my favorite. They make me feel incredibly warm and grounded. I adore the color of this room – it’s a dark amber, in almost all lights, with touches of green, and it makes me feel incredibly cozy. It reminds me of nature.
My very favorite thing about my writing space, though, is my window. I like that in this photo it almost looks like it’s glowing, because that’s its role — one of magic and inspiration. It looks out at the entrance to my residential community – a street, then behind it a sidewalk, with a row of grass, hawthorne bushes and climbing trellises along the wall. All day long I see people walking by – walking their dogs, walking to the gym, walking to the grocery store, walking to the pool or park. I see kids riding their skateboards, families riding bikes, moms and dads pushing strollers or pulling wagons. Seeing all the people inspires me a great deal – it makes me think of quirks, characteristics, gaits, family histories – all of it totally inspiring for writing interesting characters.
So what about you? What is in your writing space? What lends you inspiration, and what are your favorite parts? Better yet, post it on your blog and link back to me here so we can see a photo! Consider this a meme, and you’re tagged. …
To see more writing spaces, here are two fun websites that detail the spaces of others: one is from the Guardian UK called Writers’ Rooms. The other was passed along to me by the always-informative Carolyn Burns Bass during one of our Twitter chats at LitChat. It’s a blog by Paul Toth called Sitting Pretty.