The Room Where I Write

There used to be a magazine called “The Saturday Review” (I think that’s right). It was about literary things and writers—quite popular as I remember it in the l960s. One of my favorite parts was a monthly column that had a photo of a famous writer’s work space. You could see the typewriter, the stacks of papers, the books. Some rooms were messy; others were quite tidy. It was a peek into a mysterious world for me, and so fascinating.

Well, here we all are, writing—and writing quite a bit it appears. Please share and show us the room where you write.

86 responses to “The Room Where I Write

  1. I hope that no one minds if I post something that I posted previously on my new blog. Before I opened my blog to the public, I had mentioned to Ann I would love it if one day she read it.

    This story–which is more of an essay– is the result of one of the BWW writing exercises in week one. After completing the course, I found it calling to me to back to it and finish it.

    I know it is slightly off topic. It does describe the room where I write, but it is more an essay reflecting my thoughts and describing myself.

    Here we go!

    War Rooms
    June 20, 2009

    A quick glance into my room paints a deceptive scene. My room appears organized. I appear to be working effortlessly. However, appearances are deceiving. My room is a battlefield. Beyond the superficial facade lies a great struggle. Waged in my room is an invisible war. A war carried out by a silent invader called pain.

    This war against pain equals all other wars. It escalates and affects the space around it. Like flames of napalm, it pours over every surface. Evidence of repeated attacks is splattered everywhere; the dog drool that stains my tan suede reclining chair, the crumbs that inhabit my dingy beige carpet, and the dander that settles on my organized cherry bookshelf. All of these things pushed to the side, placed on back burners, battles lost.

    I study the space around me and I see an ongoing battle to the left. A corkboard filled with notes of things I must do, errands I must run, and appointments I must make. A longer look and more battles appear; the dusty brass ceiling fan needs to be cleaned, the smudged cream walls need repainting, and the old brown louvered closet doors need repair. At least these things are survivors. They are items I remember or have managed to jot down. However, there are also casualties.

    Scattered among the survivors are the dead, the lost, and the forgotten. The files on my desk with their bold, attractive machine labels, color coordinated tasks, a seemingly smooth flowing organized system. They only appear to be survivors. Yet a closer look reveals one casualty. A single red file whose title is scribbled with the markings of a clumsy fat marker. Next to the files sits an empty discarded roll of labeling tape. A battle lost on a day that pain advanced.

    The advancing pain is like a platoon of stealthy soldiers. It hides in the nooks and crannies of my room. It blends with its surroundings. These soldiers invade silently. They collect, multiply, and eventually overpower everything. Once penetrated by the tiny unseen force, the illusion explodes into collapse, like a brick wall penetrated by mortar fire on a silent movie screen. Once the quiet deception is unmasked, small visible battles that mark this personal war are quickly revealed.

    Steadfast in the directive to invade the pain is unwavering. The platoons of soldiers occupy every imaginable space, even raiding the scratches on my desk. Like war wounds infected by gangrene the scratches grow larger. The proud, beautiful, cherry desk now sits scarred from its battle with papers, files, books, and cups. The varnish stripped and the bare exposed wood it surrendered long ago and remains a prisoner of this war, tortured by its captor.

    Daily I fight in honor of these prisoners. I rebuild in the midst of scattered shells so their sacrifices are not in vain. Classes remain my weapon of choice and books and notebooks filled with lessons are the empty magazines dispensed on the floor.

    There are memorials in my room dedicated to the casualties, the prisoners, and the remaining soldiers. Memorials marked by the memory of sleepless night. Awkward symbols like the blue and white checkered wool blanket that hangs draped over the tan suede reclining chair. It is a tormenting reminder that my war also calls upon the strength of the lives around me. My husband, my son, and my dogs are all soldiers. They are the true heroes of this war and they remain loyal while fighting along side me.

    There are other signs of this war. I smell its saturating stench in the air that rises from my dogs. I taste its decaying bile in my mouth. I feel its consuming sickness in my stomach, and I hear its ringing gunfire in my ears. All these things are side effects from the medication. Medication otherwise referred to as my battlefield medic, and another consequence of war.

    So yes, a quick glance in my room and everything appears to be okay, but look closer. Look beyond the apparent clean and organized surface. Instead of passing by quickly, slow down, step inside long enough to inhale and smell the putrid casualties of war. Step into my room and place a hand upon my worn and tired desk, or sit in a sticky and stench filled chair. Feel these remnants of lost battles, or hear their cry along with the laborious breath of my wounds. Step into my room and onto my battlefield. Cross inside the doorway and experience the effect of the invading forces. Witness the massive war waged by pain in my war room.

    • I caught my post haste in the second paragraph. You will have to overlook a few errors. My new medication has made me a little fuzzy in thought. I will adjust and return to normal soon.

    • We indeed are in a war with words. Your visuals are excellent. Good Work.

      • Thank you Walk.

        Do the butterflies ever go away? Will cookie tossing become my pastime when I start to post regularly? Will I ever settle into a nice comfort zone and relax with a cup of blackberry tea?

    • As trite as it sounds, the reader feels your pain while reading the description of the room where you write. You crafted a vivid image.

  2. The room where I write is located at the center point of three rooms in our home. I sit at our kitchen pub table with my laptop, separated from the living and family rooms by mere half walls.

    For years, I wrote on my PC in a small room at the end of the hall with a door I could close. Since I bought my laptop, I moved out of that room mainly because I could.

    My writing is presently limited to my blog, commenting on others’ blogs and e-mails. I’m stuck. I’ll blame it on the limited room available on a pub table. How can my mind expand and soar when it can’t take more than one or two strides before it’s forced to launch up, up and away.

    Uh, oh, it’s thundering. I’ve got to turn this electronic device off. Bye.

    • I think up is a great way to go!

      I visited your blog. What a lovely site. You are so fortunate to be surrounded by so much thought provoking beauty.

      Oh, what a wonderful job you do capturing the beauty of the simplest things with your photographs. It was such a pleasure visiting your site.

    • Kitchen would be the perfect place to right, just steps from the fridge and sodie pops.

    • Maybe your move away from a secluded spot and into a central location in your home is an indication of your greater comfort level with your writing!

      I agree with darksculptures; the photos on your blog (except for the allergy medicines!) are a breath of a world that is so open and clear.

  3. The place where I write is incredibly messy and a difficult place in which to find stuff coz it’s jam-packed with irrelevant and usually unreliable memorabilia and garbage. It occasionally gets illuminated, but most of the time it’s not a particularly pleasant place to be in coz it’s so dark and gloomy. It takes up about 1250 cubic centimetres, is kinda squishy, and has pale brown external walls complemented by a whitish-yellow interior with occasional gray areas. I’ve thought about re-decorating it, but both drugs and shrinks cost too much, so I guess I’m stuck with it.

    • You have done a very nice job alluding to the scene. I feel I just received a mental massage.

      But now, I am suddenly painfully aware of my own noise and clutter.

      I would prefer to think of it is nice vibrant shade of pink with flashes of light generated by the firing of brilliant synopsis.

      So, I have decided to delude myself with visions of pink bunnies covering fertile fields who happily gaze upon hypnotic fireworks.

    • Tis a wonderful place, all 1250 cc’s of it. Love your humor.

    • Wow, you successfully conveyed the feeling of your writing place in very few words! The casual language (“kinda,” “coz,” etc.) is effective.

  4. Fignatz, once again you’ve stolen my thunder! How can two people who live on opposite sides of the hemispheres have the same ideas? Is that perchance why I like your blog so much??? Anyway, I’m glad you’ve come to play here with us.

    • Basic planetary physics, Gully. Your wobbliness up there counter-balances my wobbliness down here, and the rest of the world doesn’t have to worry about losing its equilibrium. Or does it?

  5. Barbara Burris

    I write inside my head. I do it while on the treadmill at the gym, or during dinner, seated on my tall stool pulled tight to the kitchen island, the news droning on in the background. I write in the car between errands or while wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles of the supermarket. I should be ashamed to admit, but I’m not, that I write during long conversations with friends and family. I write when I should be sleeping.

    I sit still long enough to type it out in a corner of my bedroom, on the sage green wingback recliner chair, so perfectly placed between two windows to catch both the breeze and the light. That was to be my sanctuary before my sweet husband invaded the area with his flat-screened television set. (He likes togetherness.) When I cannot concentrate with Rommel’s march to the sea or yet another rendition of General Patton’s life being played out rather noisily in the background, I retreat to the loft and the comfort of the overstuffed plaid rocker that was my mother’s. That is my favorite place to write when it’s raining, my head so close to the steeply angled roof that I can feel the rhythm of the rain beating on the shingles. On lazy summer mornings or balmy evenings after dinner, I wedge the two deep green chenille pillows between my back and the chain of the old porch swing, pull my feet up onto the benched seat and balance my laptop on my knees. Once my head and my hands connect, I could be in Outer Mongolia for all I know. My surroundings disappear.

    • It sounds like you have so many wonderful, beautiful places where you can retreat and write and the innate ability to block off the rest when there are distractions about.

      I don’t know how you can write when the Television is on in the background. I find I have to put on the headphones and drown out the noise, but discover that even the music I am listening to sets the mood of my body of work.

      ps – Thank you for commenting on my post. I promise to never post anything that long again. I just wanted Ann to see the end result of her work.

      • Barbara Burris

        We all post long pieces from time to time. That’s what we’re here for! Your post had great depth of feeling and I liked it. Please don’t let the length of a piece stop you from posting it here.

    • I love my loft on a rainy day, it is quite relaxing. I usually wind up looking at the back of my eye lids.

    • Our writing places have some elements in common…

      The details in the second paragraph bring your description to life. In my mind, I can see you writing.

  6. Fig–Considering that I was in the hospital ER Sunday night with a whirling attack of vertigo, I would agree with your term “wobbliness.” One could never accuse Gullible of being balanced.

  7. The Room Where I Write

    Where do I begin to describe where I write? I suppose I should start with the basics. My children grew up and left home which supplied me with a spare room. Yes, all mine. First time in my life that I actually had a room with my name on it. But that’s another story…
    I went to work fixing it up as best I could. A twin bed…an antique rocking chair in the corner. My teddy bear that I’ve had since I was three years old sits there. Quiet, content, all-knowing. That’s another story too…
    I finally acquired a desk about two years ago. Found it in an antique store. My very own writing desk, small but workable. It was scratched and quite rugged around the edges—not unlike me. Well I couldn’t leave the antique store without this desk so here she sits.
    After setting up my desk in my new room, I put all my writing craft books on the antique bookshelf right where I can see them and use them, you know, like booster shots when the writing urge is not so much an urge. Then I brought in a couple of wooden apple crates—one stacked on top of the other. This makes an excellent nightstand and book shelf. Here is where I have some of my books. Mostly, Southern Appalachian books and Native American books, Cherokee in particular. I have fiction, nonfiction, biographies, etc. I love my books—my Appalachian stories are my heartbeat. They are my soul.
    I also have a cupboard where I keep writing stuff like all my previous on-line assignments, print-outs from internet sources. A big green Barnes & Noble book bag is in there. More books, paper clips, stapler. And on and on.
    A window is directly above my laptop here at my little desk. I can lean back from time to time, watch the birds landing out on my hanging baskets. Or I can gaze out at the clouds that go floating by. I also have lots of quotes pinned about. I’ve always loved quotes and most of them are quite noble and deep.
    As you probably can imagine, it appears that I have a perfect writing room. And I suppose I should agree with you. I mean, I don’t have a glorious view from my window but then again, when you’re deep inside yourself and writing, it really doesn’t matter where you are or what the view is, right? It’s the words. The emotion. The telling of the story.
    I have spent considerable time here. Writing. Reading. Dreaming. Thinking I might grow as a writer. Thinking I may someday know in my heart that I am a writer. But it never happened. The writing craft books began to look like nothing more than spent money. My Appalachian novels became books written by real writers. Not books that would inspire me to keep writing, keep learning, keep walking on my own path into that mountain telling. The noble quotes became mockers. Jokes. The writers magazines became stuff piled around my room. Even “my room” became a jeering mockery at my fleeting attempt to rise above. So, I quit.
    I removed my writing craft books. They are in the cupboard now. The door is shut. My quotes are gone—stuffed in an envelope somewhere in the middle drawer of this desk. I cleaned out the sections behind my laptop where I kept tidbits of information like contest entry deadlines, conferences and their dates and locations. My desk is clean now. All the scrap papers of starts and more starts are thrown away. The coffee stains thrown away with them. Only the laptop sits here. And one single ink pen leans to the left side of my pencil holder. One of these days I will clean out the middle drawer. Right now, I just don’t want to deal with that. I don’t want to see what all is in there. It feels like even the ghosts have deserted.
    So there you have it. What once was my writing room.
    Until today.
    It came in the way of an email. From a dear friend. A writer friend.
    I think maybe later today I’ll drag out all my books and put them back where they belong. I think tonight, I’ll read through my noble quotes. Right now, I want to hold my Appalachian books close to my heart. I need to feel them beating again. So, here I sit at my laptop. My coffee cup is here beside me, creating a brand new ring on some old computer paper. And my teddy bear that I’ve had since I was three? Well, he’s sitting over there in the antique rocker. All knowing.

    • Barbara Burris

      Yay Kathy!

    • I for one am glad you’re back to writing.

    • You highlight one of the most daunting challenges of writing: doing it and sticking with it. Many of us go through hills and valleys with writing because discouragement can creep in so quickly and brutally.

      Brava for rescuing your writing gear! You will not regret it…

    • I’m happy that you’ll be returning to writing. I was so sad as I read the majority of your post. The last paragraph buoyed me up again and I thank whoever sent you the magic e-mail.

      Enjoy putting your feelings, thoughts, dreams and all those other things that are your life into your own unique words.

      You’re one of an awesome group here and we’re lacking whenever someone isn’t present here.

    • What a powerful description of your room and yourself. I think at some point we all consider abandoning our writing.

      There is that constant nagging fear that your words are not good enough and the paranoid delusion that the whole world is laughing at the work you so diligently slaved over. These are just two examples of a hundred thousand reasons to quit writing. In fact these and many more almost kept me from posting a new story to my page today. For me it is fear. For others it is just life.

      Life in general, with its many demands, sometimes wins and takes precedence over writing. You try neglecting these things, but they have a way of evoking great feelings of guilt.

      Sometimes you just have to shout back and life and say “ENOUGH”.

      Face it, you’re a writer! Words are breath, without them you will surely suffocate!

  8. One of my “things” will be posted at the Elder Storytelling Place tomorrow, I’m told. Those of you who read my blog have already seen it. Site host Ronni asked me if we had the same mother after she read it.

    In the meantime, I have printed all the posts here and will try to catch up this evening. First, though, I need a nap because I got up way too early today to run the mail route.

  9. I ascend to the top of the stairs, suddenly a herd of wild horses rush past. My eyes close as the breeze from their gallop envelops me. I open my eyes to see the sun shining brightly through the stain glass windows in the writing loft. Their colors blend on the carpet turning it into a beautiful Persian rug. Aw, Persia, now there’s a setting. The sound of soft jazz seeps out of speakers hidden amongst the books, dictionaries, and magazines. Aw, jazz. How about jazz in Persia?

    I sit before my monitors and write furiously before the stampede races away in a cloud of dust. Sigel will have to turn them back away from the canyon before they run headlong into death.

    The printer hums and as I pick up its produce, I notice the blue die-cast 67 Shelby Mustang. In my hands it looks tiny, in my dreams it is huge. A desire that I can write about, but never drive. A wish gone unfulfilled, but lingers in the back of my mind. I turn in my chair and knock the six-string guitar off of its stand. The resulting musical bam is the most music its made in ages.

    Across the loft, where the bookcase will one day reside, are piles of books, mostly read, some waiting patiently. A few magazines are laying close by gathering dust until the lazy owner picks them up and absorbs their nourishment.

    Back at my desk, a cool breeze is blowing across the Gulf and with it come the fragrance of two lovers. The breeze sweeps over a couple walking on the beach and ends with only sweat separating them.

    Then one of my paintings take over and suddenly Paris is before me, the steps to the Louvre behind me. The paintings of a master inside, paintings of the beautiful Lady Victoria.

    Suddenly a voice rings out from downstairs. Beautiful is beckoning me. Life pulls me back to reality. Living in two worlds is wonderful.

  10. Hey! The happy face moved! What’s up with that?

  11. The place where I write is a secluded yet boundless retreat.

    Almost magical, my writing place warps time. I settle in, write, and then all of a sudden, it is much, much, much later.

    My writing place is immersive. I focus, and the rest of the world goes about its business without me. All senses are on alert. Thinking occurs in 360 degrees. Brain muscles expand and contract to imagine the most meaningful details, vivid descriptions, and worthwhile ideas.

    A cherished escape, my writing place protects me from the jostles, punches, and slings of any given day. I am liberated from my public self–that person who must smile tensely and interact politely with colleagues who have no regard for her.

    Only recently, I discovered in a conscious way the gift that is my writing place. A life-long love of words, language, observation, and imagination finally succeeded in pointing me towards my writing place. Now I want to venture there much more often than my outside life will allow.

    My mind and my imagination are the place where I write. An idea must be carefully observed, researched, contemplated, examined, analyzed, and dissected before I ever place my fingers on the standard keyboard on my run-of-the-mill desk in my tiny, unremarkable office. One look at such an institutional platitude elicits nothing but a grand ho-hum. However, I appreciate that the prosaic physical space belies the keenness of my true writing place.

    • Barbara Burris

      Oh boy, do I understand the tense smiles for ‘the colleagues who have no regard for her’. We all hide out here in wordland, don’t we? You say it well.

    • You describe the writer psychic so well. Physical placement isn’t our main writing place.

    • I agree with Walk. Reading your submission was like taking inventory of my own thoughts.

      Your description of how the inner parts of writing need no specific physical location was right on!

      While reading your submission, you forced me to remember that most writing does happen outside of the physical writing space. The meat of writing lies outside of the flat keyboard. It lies in the multidimensional space called life. The thoughts, ideas, memories, and observations that later culminate into words on the page are the foundational stones of writing.

      Excellent job Lassie! You have given me much to consider today.

    • Wow! You sure know how to put thoughts and feelings into glorious words and to speak to us with a unusual clarity.

  12. Tonight, I promise. I will print and read all the posts here. For some reason, reading off the printed page affords me more understanding.

    Yes, I said I would do it the other day.

    Memo to self: if you want to print on the reverse side of already printed paper, you must insert the paper into the printer feed the correct way.

  13. Forgive me, Muse for I have sinned. I have broken the cardinal rule of BWW Lesson 1. I do not have a defined “writing space.”

    In another place and time, I was organized. Each item on my desk (I had a desk of my own back then) had a specific spot, all of the pens worked, and the pencils’ sharp points stood at equal height in a cup to my left. Even items in the drawers were neatly arranged. Then, it all changed.

    After college, I left my home and native land and relocated to New England to be with E. I went to sleep one night in my home, and woke up the next day in a strange place where everything I once knew was no longer relevant. E and I began our life together in a one bedroom apartment slightly under 500 square-feet in size. We carved out a spot in our bedroom for a computer desk, but I didn’t use it much – it felt like E’s desk, not mine. I had no space of my own.

    Over the years, we moved twice, and in each location I failed to create my own refuge. E constantly won the contest of who would lay claim to the computer space by overrunning it with clutter, papers, books, software, etc..

    I write this propped up in bed, my laptop – well, it’s on my lap, and my feet are overheating under the comforter. E is in our “second-bedroom-slash-office” at the desktop. He’s supposed to be doing homework but he’s laughing out loud, and I suspect he’s Web surfing instead.

    From this vantage point, I look directly at the perfect location for a writing space – a little three-sided nook in our bedroom with windows on all sides. I had once imagined the space with an over-sized club chair, an ottoman, and a bookshelf – it was to be my creative place, but I let E’s dreams supersede mine, and our family expanded to include a big black Labrador whose crate and bed currently occupy the nook.

    When I was younger, my space defined me. It was where I wrote, learned, and dreamed. Without a space of my own, I’ve felt aimless, lost. Can I be a real writer if I don’t have a real writer place?

    Oh, snap out of it, Zelda. Honestly. Of course you can be a writer! You can write from your bed. You can write while sipping a beer out on the deck. You can sit under a tree or at a table in the pub. No excuses! No hanging back anymore. Maybe the space that once defined you actually confined you.

    The universe is my writing space.

    • I seem to recall something about JK Rowling writing the first Harry Potter book at a table in her brother’s(?) coffee shop, the only place she could keep warm on English winter nights.

    • That’s right, you take fun Zelda out and write. I’d be interested to read what you wrote after a couple of beers.

    • Barbara Burris

      To Fun Zelda and Serious Zelda,

      What does it matter it isn’t a specific office space? Like your ‘E’, my sweet husband took over the office space in this house. That’s why mine became so portable. Being portable is a blessing. You can move to the warm place in winter and the cooler place in summer, to the quieter place when you need it and the noisier place when it suits you. Just keep on writing!

    • You’re so right. What we write comes from within so why should it matter where we sit or stand or lie when we use words to express ourselves?
      You’re on your way now, Zelda, and I’m delighted for you.

  14. Darksculptures-
    Keep fighting with words. Just sit down at your computer and yell “Charge!”

    I love the image of your “tiny, unremarkable desk” and the “grand ho-hum” is brilliant.

    “unreliable memorabilia”. I have that too! I love how those two words roll off my tongue.

    you are right-once the head and hands connect, the surroundings disappear! Don’t you love it when that happens?

    I love looking forward to whatever you write. It’s always a unique surprise.
    P.S. Your guitar and my dulcimer should get together as they have alot in common.

    “Maybe the space that once defined you actually confined you” blew me away. It made me sit back and think.

    why don’t you get your husband to build you a little writing cottage in the backyard? With your extremely creative mind, I’m sure you could convince him to take on this worthwhile project.

  15. Act I

    Scene One:

    Two o’clock in the morning. Muse intrudes, shaking out the cottonballs and cobwebs in the brain, sends them fleeing to the nether reaches. Click. Incandescent illumination. Sage green sheets above and below, two red pillows, red, gold and sage fluffed over all.

    Scene Two:

    Bluish-white light, a steady light, not the flickering dead light of television. Small laptop teeters. Legs cross and uncross, searching for a comfortable position, one that will lessen the frequent typos. A black cord zigzags across dark green carpet, drawing its energy from thick black wires that sway in the windstorm . Thermostat on the wall, 62 degrees, meant for sleeping, not for writing.

    Act II

    Scene One:

    Dusty white lines on acres of black mark the stalls, civilization’s need to control the masses. Parked equidistant between two of the lines, not to conform, but for protection. To the left, beige one story building with bright red letters: C – O – S – T – C – O. The list, now forgotten, on the seat opposite. Carts piled high with giant economy sizes roll past, blurry blips on an unfocused radar screen. Inside, to the port side of equidistant, black forensic traces mark the path of medium point as it scurries across spiral bound, college ruled.

    Scene Two:

    This place was built with an in door and an out door, but the in door remains closed. To get in, go in the out door, at the same time those going out leave by the out door. Keeping to the right wosn’t help because all the carts are to the left. From a pocket comes a folded piece of paper, from another the black ink, medium point. A small sanctuary out of the traffic lane by the refrigerators and dryers, words jotted down, paper and pen repocketed.

    Scene Three:

    Rows of mauve seats, walls of dusky blue. Glassed-in cubicle, sliding window, receptionist passing out clipboards with quarter-reams of forms. “Fill in this, this, and this; sign here, here, and here. Retain the HIPPA for your information.” Waiting in the waiting room. Endless waiting in the waiting room. They are here from out of town, worry not etched into their faces, worry carved with a fillet knife so deeply into their faces as to reveal their very souls. Folded paper, medium point, black ink.

    Scene Four:

    Large windows, iced sills; glass door, clouds of frozen vapor. Wooden barrels, bulging burlap bags, rough spruce boards. Kenya, Columbia, Seattle’s Best. S-s-s-s-s-s-s-t. Aromas of medium roast, French vanilla. Sweet spicy chai. Polished oak tables, simple oak chairs, Wi-Fi, laptops, sip, sip, sip. Spiral bound, college ruled, lines, serifs, circles, squiggles.

    Scene Five:

    Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Semis, pickups, SUVs, all in a whoosh. Mountain rock wall on one side, gray, silty, deadly, cold water hemmed by mountains on the other. Spiral bound, college ruled, medium point. Lines, serifs, circles, squiggles, all oblivious to whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.

    Act III

    Scene One:

    Three sets of half stairs, two in white/rust/brown Berber, one in bluish-green Berber. Oak banister, knotty pine wainscoting. One hundred and seventy-six lineal feet of bookshelves, some stacked two deep. Bookends cut from a narrow gauge rail, bookends cut from jade. Walrus tusks, photographs, jade husky, Fijian cannibal brain pick, copper bowl, rust red iron-bearing sandstone of Uluru, acrylic painting of a favorite lead dog, binoculars, globe, parrot stand. Oak desk, oak filing cabinet, oak computer desk.. Amish cabinet with Heat Surge fireplace, birch bark baskets on top. Six string acoustic guitar, teardrop dulcimer. PC, printer, line conditioner, surge protector. Lamp with scalloped glass shade, muted green and lilac.

    Scene Two:

    Spiral bound, college ruled, folder page, small notebook, gas receipt, grocery list. Keyboard to transfer words, ideas, thoughts, to PC. Words tossed aside, words on the floor, words hanging from the lamp shade, words under the rollers of the chair on the carpet protector. Thousand-yard stare. Green parrot sleeps, chuckles when it hears, “Ah, I know.”

    Scene Three:

    Printer hums, spits out paper covered in lines, serifs, circles, squiggles. Red pen, bloody blood red pen like a scalpel. Tappety-tap-tap-tap. Printer hums, spits. More red pen. More tappety-tap-tap. Printer hums, spits. Pen at the ready. Pen at ease. Green parrot chuckles, eats a peanut. The peanut gallery approves.

    • I love the images you’ve created, especially the words hanging everywhere. I can see that in my mind right now. What a vision. May I borrow some of your leftover words, you know, just the ones that are hanging on the lampshade and scattered on the floor? I promise I’ll bring them back.

    • Goodness, gracious. You’ve struck me speechless.

      Oh my, oh my, oh my. Nothing I can write deserves to be on the same page as your creation.

      Shiver me timbers; off I go with Moby Dick.

  16. You left an act out,

    Act IV
    Scene One:
    Project accepted by agent, rework complete, publisher sends contract…..

    Scene Two:
    Brag on Ann’s Website

    I know you’re gonna hear those golden words, “Send me your first three chapters…”, I just know you will.

  17. Thanks, Walk. But, not if I never get a round tuit.

  18. Looks like we’re all left to our own imaginations as to what Ann’s writing room looks like since she hasn’t revealed it to us. Hmmm… orderly? Messy? Somewhere inbetween? Real desk? Makeshift desk? A window with a view? A view with an ocean and sailboats? Mountains? Just a driveway with cars parked in it? Upper level apartment overlooking a wonderful quaint historical village? I can only imagine….

  19. maureen,
    Where you at? I’m out on the deck guarding a frosty beverage with your name on it!

  20. For Darksculptures

    Yes, I am afraid. Of writing. The truth. The bottom line.
    Yes, I am afraid of not being good enough.
    Yes, I am afraid when my words won’t surface to breathe in the clean fresh air.
    Yes, I am afraid when I feel that strangling coming from my heart.
    Yes, I am afraid that someday I will be suffocated by unwritten words.
    Yes, I am afraid that maybe the truth, the bottom line, is in fact, I cannot write.
    Yes, I am afraid that maybe the truth, the bottom line, is in fact, I can write.
    And that makes me afraid.

  21. Be afraid KathyH!
    To fear is to be alive!

    It heightens the senses and opens the mind to the little things that may otherwise escape.

    Fear is an excellent resource, as is love!

    Between fear and love, the body cannot deny that it is alive. These two emotions cause the palms to moisten and the teeth to clench. They can raise prickles on the arms; cause the heart to skip, and make the pit of the stomach sick.

    Sometimes these brawny emotions spin the writer’s thoughts into a black vortex of doubt, self-loathing and unanswered questions. Or they may inspire liberation and the writer suddenly throws the laundry on the floor, gives way to irrational behavior, and any sign of reason.

    The heart and head differ in opinion and a confrontation begins, should one fight or flee.

    Inside the head of a writer, the brain scrambles to assemble bits of pieces of information before the heart wins out and forces one to take flight from the page. All the while the writer is reeling, traveling along a spiral path of what is believed to end in complete darkness, in a vacuum of wordless space.

    But oh, when the apex of that black hole is reached, when that combination of fear and love has melded space and time into that writer for which we all dream to be. When finally, the finite moment is achieved and everything has been squeezed down into an infinitesimal spec of brilliance.

    Then, this new creation, this new writer, races to record this brilliant understanding on the page before it explodes back into that whirlwind of utter chaos, before the confusion sets in and the whole process begins again!

    Embrace it KathyH! I have not been here long, but it is my opinion that everyone in this group has what it takes. Just stick with it and remember: Writing is its own reward, any fame or fortune you achieve is secondary!

    • I keep reading this over and over. It has “raised prickles on my skin”. It has caused my heart to skip a beat. “A spec of brilliance”? You just wrote it. I have never read anything quite like this and I am fumbling over my words here. I can’t get them to come out right. They won’t form coherently to let you know how wonderful this is. Mostly, they won’t form to convey how deeply I treasure what you wrote. How wonderfully wild and deep your words are. And how true they are. “The heart and head differ in opinion and a confrontation begins–should one fight or flee”. Is this not the absolute truth. Thank you, Darksculptures.

      I haven’t been able to create lately on my laptop. Very depressing and frustrating. It’s kept that knotted pit in my stomach churning and tightening. So, I tried something different. Something I haven’t done in a long, long time. I gave up the urge to punch my computer in the screen and I picked up my tablet and pencil and walked outdoors. I thought, if I can’t write anything worthwhile, then I’m at least going to write down “my morning”. I wrote snippets of nature all around me. Just small things. Things not important to anyone else. For about an hour I wrote about bumble bees and hawks and the end of July. Small things. It turned out to be a huge thing! I was writing! On paper! And, oh glorious day, I heard a train in the distance. I have tried so many times in the past to get my words on paper about trains. What a mess and misuse of lots of paper! But today was different. I heard it as I was writing about other things. I listened to it getting closer and without stopping, I started writing down quick simple thoughts of what I was hearing. And without realizing it, I wrote something about a train that I haven’t been able to express before. The fact that I sat and wrote about nature and my surroundings instead of freewriting stuff that always seemed to begin with “I” enabled me to look past what I can’t do, what I haven’t done, and what is my problem. I am “tired” of my problem. And so I let it go and focused on freewriting about bees, trees, July, and that perfectly timed train. It worked!

      • Awesome, Kathy, absolutely awesome. There’s nothing better than experiencing what you did when you took your tablet and went outside and just wrote.
        And while focusing on what was around you, you were able to describe trains as never before. Happy day, oh, happy day.
        I hope someday you’ll share what you wrote about trains.

        You’re something, Kathy. Someone very special. I call you my friend.

  22. …and free writing shall set you free…

    Outa Dodge in the Dodge for a week, guys. See ya when Pablo and I return.

  23. In a group of people, I don’t talk for long. I say what I have to say in as few words as possible. I fear I may be boring and so I don’t stay on stage any longer than absolutely necessary.

    And yet, when I sit down to write on my blog, the words keep coming. I intend to write a paragraph or two and soon I’ve written a page or two.

    When I write, I don’t see eyes shifting from away from mine. I’m not interrupted as if what I’m saying isn’t as important as what another has to say.

    With I place mute words on a page, I don’t feel self-conscious. I don’t imagine that I’m being criticized in the minds of my listeners. My train of thought doesn’t come to a screeching halt because of a raised eyebrow or a distraction of some other sort.

    Yes, writing is a safe and comfortable way for me to share what I know, what I’ve done, what I think, what I feel, what I wonder, what I want, and every single other thing that lies coiled within my soul.

    The page is always patient, always attentive, always non-judgmental, always open-minded and accepting of my choice and pronunciation of words.

    The page is a true friend indeed.

    Do you find solace similarly?

    • I don’t fear I’m boring, I know I am. I have little or nothing in common with the “normal” guy around here. I don’t hunt, fish, play golf, or ride motorcycles. I do write, paint, work on my old car and hang around the house. I can’t carry on a conversation with these guys because they don’t give a rip about my latest story. Now I could converse with the wives and have a good time, but most dudes don’t understand me.

      That is why I write. I can become the hunter while in front of the keyboard if I wanted. Or I could be in the middle of the wives on a shopping trip while the guys fished all day. I enjoy going where the muse takes me, could be a western, a comedy, a love story or a tale of war. The different places a writer transports themselves is what makes the writer interesting.

      So to answer your question, yes.

      • Most folks aren’t able to converse with us “fine artists.” We’re in a different world and I guess we just have to get used to that feeling of not belonging. I’ve felt that way 99% of my life so I’ve become somewhat accustomed to it and yet it still hurts more than I’d like to admit.

        Oh crap. I really don’t want to have a pity party. Let’s break out some Coronas with squished lime slices afloat amidst the foam and smile for a while.


    • The page is my voice,
      my tongue and my conversation.

      The muse is my mentor,
      my friend and my confidant.

      The words are my atonement,
      my admonishment and my salvation.

      Ditto, the answer is yes.

  24. Yes. Most definitely. And entertainment. And catharsis. And ….whatever. If fact, I enjoy writing so much that I get really, really, really grumpy when other obligations and responsibilities keep me away from it. Like now. Having returned last night from my latest trip, I have oodles to do–including winterizing the travel trailer and tucking it safely away in the car port because I won’t have time again until late September and by that time, it might be too late.

    And Walk, I was usually talking to the guys while the wives were in the kitchen discussing things that don’t interest me much.

    • I get so grumpy by the end of the day on the job that I disturb myself.

      A day at work with no time to check my blog, etc. is a wasted day according to my passion monitor.

      Please squeeze some writing time in between the tasks that await your attention. You’ll go insane if you don’t as will the rest of us.

  25. I thank all of you for responding to my question. Isn’t it great to have friends who share the same passion? We can empathize totally with each other, something rare in most settings.

    I hope you’re all finding time to nourish yourselves with the pleasure of opening your individual toy boxes of words, pulling out your favorites and lining them up to make sentences that match your moods.

    I’m better because of all of you.

  26. Barbara Burris

    I began writing when my first husband left me. It kept me going, helped me sort out my feelings. But it became my best friend when I was trying to adjust to becoming a step-mother. Being the new person in a family that has over a decade of existing history together is incredibly hard and requires a lot of patience. I needed to vent a lot of emotion sometimes and I couldn’t do it on my husband. Writing saved my life and quite possibly my marriage. I could say anything without censure and that helped.

    Today I had a close call, though. I decided to make some sugar water for my humming birds. I put the pot on to cook and left the kitchen, planning to change my clothes and return. I didn’t set a timer. I changed quickly and as I walked past my computer, decided I’d better get to work on my homework. I sat down and began to write. An HOUR later, I sniffed the air. It smelled sweet, like burned sugar. I kept writing. I sniffed it again. Someone must be cooking, I thought. Then it hit me. By the time I got to the kitchen, it was filled with smoke. The hallway was still clear of smoke, so the alarm hadn’t gone off. I pulled the pot from the burner and turned off the gas. The pot was MELTING. Liquid metal was dripping from it as I moved it. I opened every window I could and turned on the ceiling fans. Tonight the entire house still smells like burned sugar. It’s a smell I could quickly grow to hate. So when I say ‘when head and hands connect I could be in Outer Mongolia for all I know’, I truly mean it.

    There will be no more cooking while writing without my noisy kichen timer sitting right next to me.

    • Oh, thank you for sharing! Let’s give thanks that you didn’t burn the house down.

      I empathize totally with you. I do things like that on a regular basis and find it kind of scary.

      Hey, it sounds like a good excuse for us to stay out of the kitchen!!

      I’m thrilled to hear that you were writing; that pursuit certainly takes us away from reality.

      • Barbara Burris

        Writing took me a little too far away that time! Glad to know others have done this, too. The kitchen STILL smells yucky. I used to like the smell of burned sugar frosting, but I don’t think I will anymore.

        I washed down the cabinet fronts this morning and it helped. There was no visible smoke damage, but it helped get the smell out. Counter tops are next. All the windows and doors are open. The smell is better but certainly not gone. I told Bruce I’ve turned into my grandma! I remember coming home from the grocery store with Mom and finding the kitchen sink tap running full blast and the drain solidly in place. Water was cascading over the countertop onto the kitchen floor like one of those fancy sheer descent fountains that are so popular now for gardens. She’d obviously turned it on, left the room to get something and forgot to come back. My dad had absolutely zero patience for that sort of happening and I remember my sister hollering, “Dad just pulled in.’ We ran to the linen closet and grabbed armloads of towels. The three of us mopped madly and by the time he wandered into the kitchen, it was barely wet. We told him we’d mopped the floor. Well, we had, actually, so it was only a little white lie. Funny he never questioned why we’d mop the floor before we’d put away the groceries.

        At any rate, I highly recommend one of those little kitchen timers that has a very sharp bell like an alarm clock. It jolts me out of whatever state of concentration I’m in. I just have to remember to use it.

    • What a scary experience that must have been. Those kinds of things make me panic!

      I agree with Shaddy. We should all stay out of the kitchen! Let’s order takeout tonight and spend the extra time writing away in our own little worlds where it is safe.

  27. You guys sound a lot like me… except for the part where you actually write things down…

  28. Maureen–of course we’re just like you–you’re a writer! I’m still snickering over the burnt sugar, and now the “melting pot.” Gives new meaning to that expression, doesn’t it?

    • Barbara Burris

      I was tempted to save the little silver drops of melted metal as a reminder, but I’ve decided to move on. At least as much as I can with that smell in the house. I live in a log home so getting it out of the walls could take a few days. I never would’ve thought writing could be so dangerous!

  29. Hey, microwave magic works for me. I do, however, manage to burn the popcorn.

    I once wrote some doggerel about a perfect right brain day and a perfect left brain day. The closing lines of the left brain day, in reference to chickening out re publishing, were:

    “I stayed out of the kitchen
    because I couldn’t stand the heat.”

    • Burning microwave popcorn. Oh, I’m good at that. I like the Orville Reddenbacher’s Kettle Korn. I set the microwave to popcorn and hit start. Then I run off to do something else (I can’t just stand there and wait!)

      When the microwave beeps, I run back to the kitchen and half of the time, when I open the bag, smoke drifts in clouds before my very eyes. I rush the smoking gun to the sliding door and pitch it out on the deck.

      So then I start over again. Usually the second time in one evening, I hang somewhere close so I can rush back in and listen to the popping sounds so I don’t burn it again.

      In spite of it all, life is good, but as Barbara wrote, it can be dangerous for us distracted writers.

  30. Maureen: Step right in anytime you want. We’d love to see your written word count rise in this safe little corner of the world.

    We’re one big happy family, always looking for someone’s words to read. There are no requirements, rules or regulations.

    If reading instead of writing is your thing presently, we love when you do that too.

    I, personally, would like seeing your name pop up frequently.

  31. Maureen,

    I am with Shaddy, just put on your cap, plug your nose, and jump right in.

    You would be surprised at how liberating it is to swim with friends. The water may feel a little cold at first, but it won’t take long before your doing laps around the pond.

    Every frog starts out as a tadpole!

    (I really should not sit by the pond when posting)

  32. …eighteen…

  33. Maureen,

    You know we love you. Come out from under the table, please.

  34. I’m not under the table. I’m out on the deck, waiting for the meteor shower.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s