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18 February 2007

Where I Write

Update: Bloglily and I were definitely on the same blogging wavelength, as she made her previous post into a meme too. Same thing, except she has stated that if you don't post a picture, she'll come to your house to snap one for you. It's hardly a threat, as I'm sure she'd arrive with a nice cup of tea for a charming afternoon of conversation. Had I read her post first -- and didn't live ~1900 miles away -- I would not have posted the pictures below so that I could be so lucky as to have her knock on my back door.

Yesterday, the lovely BlogLily (I'm so glad you're back, BL) shared a photo of her writing space. When I saw it, I thought: "Of course, BlogLily would write at a wonderful wood table, with a tree blooming out her window. How lovely." You can see her writing space here.


Later, on a blog I recently discovered, Tea Reads, I found a link to articles in The Guardian where AS Byatt, David Hare, Sarah Waters, Hilary Mantel, Beryl Bainbridge, and Michael Frayn shared photos of their writing areas along with a description.

I had my inspiration: where I write. Perhaps you'll play along and describe your writing space as well.


















My writing space is a sparsely furnished room with a fireplace I haven't used in years. It has a sturdy old desk of dark-stained oak. An obscure phone number is carved lightly into one side, a ghost of a previous owner. I rescued the desk from a garage sale, its owner claiming that she couldn't fit it through a door in her newly remodeled home. Years later, I realized that the heavy top is removable with some effort, allowing the desk to be tipped and slid through most doorways. Her loss was my gain. I love the desk's wide, deep, top that allows me space to write while leaving plenty of area for the detritus that lands on its top: books, magazines, bills, half-forgotten directions to craft projects, stationary.

Sometimes I will write at one of the other computers in my house. They are both on the main level of the house, so I am nearer to family activity. But, downstairs in my room, I can still hear life above me: footsteps, the faint drone of the television, doors opening and closing, the washing machine spinning. I don't need to be in the center to feel the house's pulse. The lower level room allows me to be nearby, but not in the thick of things.


















My desk is positioned in front of a window. Right now, all I can see is snow drifts. The window is slightly above eye level when I'm seated, and only about 2 feet above grade. In the spring, I can see the waterside plants around my pond, but I cannot see the water or the fish. If I rise slightly, I can see the waterfall. I can always hear, though, the mesmerizing sound of the falls echoing off of the stone walls.


















What I can see when I look out the window are the trees that hold up the hill behind my house. Nine months of the year, they mask the nearby neighbor's house. In the winter, they stand tall, bending gracefully in the wind, a few lone brown leaves still hanging onto branches. There are two giant ash trees that were destroyed by lightening years before I came to live on this wonderful little plot of earth. The previous owners chose not to remove the trees, opting instead to cut off the limbs, leaving 20-foot pole-like trunks. The decay of the trees has increased rapidly over the last five years. I know that soon I will need to have them removed, lest they tumble and land on a car or the house or crash down on the stone terrace that separates the pond from the drive. But, they provide a delightful perch for three different kinds of woodpeckers. Cardinals, robins, nuthatches, jays, and wrens also hop up and down the trunks, dining on a gourmet insect feast.




















In about three or four weeks, the trees will begin to leaf out. All sorts of wildflowers, most unknown to me by their botanical names, will begin to peep out from beneath the viney carpet of ground cover. White, yellow, and purple stars will shine for a few days, then fade. In mid-April, the may apples will begin to grow. It is one of the oddest flowers I know, growing rapidly, looking like a green leafy mushroom. Soon it will begin to look like a collapsed beach umbrella. As if they were aware of our calendars, the umbrellas open up as soon as it is May, stretching out their leaf canopy until it is almost flat, then displaying one single blossom before settling in for the summer underneath the shadow of the trees.

So that is my writing space. Inside and out. If I'm not at my desk, I'm likely to set up my laptop elsewhere near a window -- a necessity both in terms of light and view -- looking out at the trees and birds and flowers, nature both my inspiration and a willing participant in any writing procrastination.

What about your writing space? Why do you like it? Describe it and its surroundings and share a photo on your blog. Then leave a link in the comments so that we can see where you write.

7 comments:

Cam said...

Arghhhh....I spent lots of time getting the text to wrap around the photos, but once I published, Blogger had a mind of its own. Republish. Republish. Republish. Doesn't look the way I wanted, but at least the text isn't over the graphics now. If anyone knows how to set photos properly in new blogger, and have them look right not just in preview but when you publish, I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks!

Dorothy W. said...

Very nice -- I like the pictures of your views -- and the description of spring that's soon on its way!

Kate S. said...

Cam, your photos and descriptions are marvellous. I particularly appreciated the tale of the provenance of your desk. I too have a tank of a desk, in my case acquired from the tenants that lived in my old apartment before I did. I don't love the look of it but I do love the vast expanse of it. I posted photos of my workspace earlier today in response to Bloglily's invitation to do so. Clearly with you and Bloglily it's a matter of great minds thinking alike! You can find my photos here.

(un)relaxeddad said...

My writing space wouldn't take much time to describe - since dudelet was born and took over the office, it's basically wherever I can find a space to open my laptop. So it's definitely an environment sculpted by sound rather than surroundings (i.e. whatever's coming through my headphones. A space of my own is long distant memory/dream!

danielle said...

I hate it when posts don't turn out visually how you think they will--I have had that problem with typepad, too. Lovely writing areas! I would love to have a room with a nice view like that! Definitely more inspiring than looking out at other houses--which is my view. Bring on spring--can't wait to see flowers!

Sandi said...

Wow, Cam! You have a wonderful writing area, and I love the photos and descriptions of all the beauty outside your windows. Didn't bloglily do us all a huge favor letting us see into each other's writing lives this way? I adore hearing about how other writers get into the process of writing--what kind of pen, what kind of chair, window, etc. I love how windows can feed both our inspiration and our procrastination. They're very multi-purpose. Great blog you have! I can't wait to read all your archives, as I've just discovered you today. (Your entry about the pens was fascinating. I, too, am so persnickety about pens, and have often had to leave writing projects to go out and shop for a new one. Sadly, our local stationery store just closed, taking all their exotic, out of the ordinary pens with them!

Pauline said...

I found your blog through Bloglily. I love the idea of talking about writing space. What a great view! The link to the Guardian is nice too.