I love my back porch on summer mornings. A soft breeze whispers through the evergreens, a chorus of birds serenade me with early morning wake up songs, no one else in the house is stirring (not even Magic or Molly), and I can savor the solitude. Still in pajamas and slippers, my first cup of coffee close at hand, I tuck my laptop under my arm, pile my books and notebook on a wicker side table, and settle into the chair. It’s a perfect place to write.
Of course, I write in other places in the house. I’m fortunate to have a “room of my own,” with a writer’s desk and large overstuffed chair (with extra wide arms perfect for propping up a laptop). Most of the time, that’s where my writing happens, seated at the desk or curled up in my chair. There are bookstacks everywhere in that room, and though I keep cleaning them up, more seem to appear in their place. Whether I’m writing blog posts, or book reviews, or even working on a short story, I seem to need bookstacks around. <smiles>
I’m nosy about writer’s desks, aren’t you? There seems to be something magical about the places people write. I readily admit to chills running down my spine when I stood in Virginia Woolf’s study at Rodmell, and Charlotte Bronte’s parlor in the parsonage at Haworth. Every year, I purchase a copy of The Writer’s Desk calendar – photographer Jill Krementz has made a study of writers and their desks, and has published a lovely coffee table sized book as well as these annual calendars. (See, I’m not the only nosy one!) And it isn’t just writer’s desks that intrique me – it’s all the “writuals” that are associated with the writing process.
Stephen King wrote Carrie and Salem’s Lot “in the laundry room of a double wide trailer, pounding away on my wife’s portable Olivetti typewriter and balancing a child’s desk on my thighs.” He advises writers to “have a space of their own,” a place with a door you are “willing to shut, telling the world and yourself you mean business.” (On Writing) Conversely, Natalie Goldberg advises leaving home occasionally, going to a cafe or public place to write. “It’s good to change the scenery from time to time,” she says, “because at home there is the telephone, the laundry, the refrigerator, the dishes to be washed, a letter carrier to be greeted. If you made the effort to get to a cafe, you can’t leave as easily and go do something else, the way you can in your own home.” (Writing Down the Bones)
Awareness of place is important, not just because of nosy friends like me, but to set the stage for all the writing that you do. Before you can convincingly relate a feeling of place to your reader, you must first feel it for youself. If you’re connected to the place you write in, Julia Cameron tells us, the “accumulation of details, the willingness to be specific and precise, the willingness to ‘place’ a piece of writing accurately in context – all these things make for writing the reader can connect to.” (The Right to Write)
How about you? Last week we talked about why we come to the page, now I want to know where you come to the page. What’s magical about your writing spot (or spots!) Free write about the places you put pen to paper. Post pictures if you can – that would be even more fun! (I can’t because the battery in my camera is dead!)
Leave a comment with the url linking to your blog post, and we’ll all come and spy on each other. <more smiles>