I was with my critique group on Wednesday and one of my writer friends started asking us what our writing space looks like. It was interesting, the varied responses she got, and I thought it might be fun to broaden the question. But first I went spelunking . . . put on my miners cap and explored a couple websites. I also remembered reading something about this in one of my favorite writer’s prompts books. So I dug out my copy of A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves and found where Reeves had asked the same question of famous writers.
She’d found that Amy Tan “surrounds herself with objects that carry with them a personal history—old books, bowls and boxes, chairs and benches from imperial China.”
And Kurt Vonnegut “uses his hardwood floor as a ‘desk’ where he spreads and piles and keeps things near at hand as he works from his lap while seated on a padded Danish walnut easy chair.”
And both Marcel Proust and James Joyce use their bed as a desk.
And that Annie Dillard “recommended a room with no view ‘so imagination can meet memory in the dark.’”
When I posed the same question to the internet look at the gem I found:
At Re-nest are pictures of the writing spaces of Woolf, Thoreau, Thomas and Twain to name a few. Wouldn’t it be totally cool to have your own writing shed!
But alas, we all can’t have one of those can we? Me, I have what my husband has deemed “my wing” and by this he means that I’ve taken over the formal living and dining rooms. The living room has my soft, cozy chair that I can sprawl into for reading. It has my bookcase filled with the past, present, and future books I’ll read.
But the dining room is where my “space” is. It’s where my laptop sits waiting for me to plop my butt into the chair, dangle my digits over its keyboard and open the floodgates. Beside my laptop and watching over my creative process is Ganesh, Patron of letters during writing lessons, remover of obstacles, Lord of beginnings. Behind me are my binders of notes and handouts from the various writing conferences I’ve attended.
My space shares room with my scrapbooking hobby, whose paraphernalia is scattered here, there and everywhere. I see scrapbooking as an extension to the creative process. Sort of story telling in pictures!
Between my two passions, my “space” is somewhat of a mess. In the past I’ve tried to tidy up a bit but it seems to always revert back to this cluttered collection of chaos. I suppose that says something about me – maybe that my stories need to be surrounded by external noise in order to claw their way to the surface. Or that I need my surroundings to match the tremendous volume of “stuff” going on in my head. Or maybe it just means I’m a slob. What’s curious is that, as messy as I like my area, I like absolute stillness when I write. No music playing, no background noise from the T.V. Just quiet solitude to accompany my chaotic mess.
So what’s your space like? Is it neat and orderly? Everything in its place where you can find it at a moments notice? Do you have music playing somewhere in the background, a cat purring in your lap? Or … oh! Do you have a shed?!