Saturday, May 3, 2008

Your Writing Place

I've been catching up on my reading, specifically my back issue or two of the magazine Poets and Writers. (I tried to link to their site,, but it appears to be down.) In the March/April 2008 edition, novelist Alexandra Enders wrote about The Importance of Place. She said Hemingway wrote while standing, Ben Franklin from the bathtub. EB White's place was a cabin on the shore, and Toni Morrison "found refuge" in a quiet motel room, away from the demands of her children.

I might venture to guess most writers have a specific place. A special, favorite place to be, their writing supplies spread around or a computer in front of them, where ideas stir and, eventually, come to fruition on paper.

My "place," where my computer can be found, was sort of chosen for me. When my husband planned the layout of our then-unfinished basement, our shared "office" became an open area right off the family room. So the area in which my family spends the most time is mere feet from my work station, with lots of distrations. (As I type, the kidlets are watching Barney's Colorful World LIVE!. Do you know how hard it can be to focus when garish, foam dinosaurs are singing to Mr. Golden Sun?)

This place of mine works well enough during those few times of quiet, when one daughter is at preschool and the other is napping (a rarer and rarer occurrence these days), or when they've been tucked soundly into bed for the evening. But typically, day to day, it's a challenge to write anything of worth while jouncing back and forth from my stool and computer to the demands of the day.

In the meantime, I dream of my ideal place... a room that's all my own. An ample desk would sit near one wall, with my computer at the ready; filled bookshelves would line the perimeter. I'd have a sitting nook in one corner, too, complete with cushy, comfy chair and floor lamp, perfect for reading. And the best part? A door. A closing door, so I could separate my writing life from the rest. I picture dark, rich colors on the walls and floors, and antiques dotted here and there. I'd fragrance the space with a favorite, perhaps mulberry or sandalwood.

Someday. Someday I'll have this perfect room, this perfect place.

What's your place, real and/or imagined?


WendyCinNYC said...

My space is a home office that once served as a maid's room. I live in an apartment building circa 1924, and let me tell you, the maids couldn't have been well treated at the time. It's a 6 X 10 room with a tiny bathroom and no closet off the kitchen, next to the washer and dryer.

It would be fine if there weren't stacks of papers everywhere. I'm not so organized. That makes me nuts, so sometimes my writing space is a bench in Central Park.

Here's hoping for your Room of Your Own soon, Janna.

Janna Leadbetter said...

I have a couple friends who are organizational freaks. Maybe we should hit them up for help with such things. :)

Michele said...

I've always dreamed of a cabin in the woods. I can hear the fire crackling while snow is falling. I'm all cozy and inspired. If it's Spring or Fall, then the windows are open, birds are chirping, and squirrels are nibbling away at the feeders. Of course, I could always venture outside and write from the hammock... if I didn't fall asleep!

Wow, that was a nice thought. :-)


Janna Leadbetter said...

Ooh, I quite like the sound of our place, too, Michelle. Really, a writer could have many places to call "home" and get that much more work done, I'd think.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I like the idea of a small cosy place, kind of like what you described, Janna. Bookshelves on the wall, a sturdy desk (which I do have now - hubby made it) and a overstuffed chair/ottoman in a corner. Come to think of it, I do have the chair so once I get my AS I'll be close to my ideal. :)

Janna Leadbetter said...

Sweet! You'll be set. :)