So this is what a writer’s space looks like. It’s my dining room table, my laptop, a hot cup of tea. I work in my kitchen/dining room because for nine months of the year, weather in the state of Washington is cold, wet, and gray. To conserve my budget, this is the room I hole up in and heat during those long winter months — while the rest of the house is fairly chilly (in an arctic kind of way). My printer is on a stand in the corner. The wicker basket behind me is called the burn basket, and at any given time, it is holding discarded envelopes, magazines I’ve read, and a fair amount of the pages I’ve written. The silver dove hanging from the light fixture was a gift from dear friends that I placed there when our country went to war with Iraq in 2003; it will stay there until we are at peace once again.
On the table top, you see the daily life of a writer…
A copy of my novel rests on the far corner of the table for easy reference when I need it. A section of an email from my son, labeled “Great Creative Writing Advice” offers this reminder from Kurt Vonnegut: “Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.” My doctor is retiring, and his letter is clipped to a page containing information on the new doctor I may sign up with – but not until after my doctor retires. There is a listing I made of possible blogs to write guest posts for. I made a copy of the back cover of an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) that lists that book’s marketing plan. My house is for sale and the map is marked with cities from Olympia to Seattle, places I want to explore as I narrow down the perfect location for a new home. There are notes I’ve put together on writing for a workshop I’m going to present to a wonderful bunch of writers I spoke to last year. There are several strips of pictures taken in a photo booth at my niece’s wedding on May 1 in sunny southern California – I don’t want to put them away yet, because every time I look at those happy memories, I smile.
And, of course, there are bits and pieces of writing. “The Inheritance” is a short story I’ve been struggling with for quite some time. “Life Calling Her” began as a short story but is fast growing into a novel in its own right. There are notes written on the back of the daily bulletin of a local high school from a day I subbed in a music class when the orchestra class blew me away, and another page of notes from a day in a high school computer classroom when one of the teens made a comment on his way out the door that made me laugh out loud. A copied page from a book loaned to me by a friend called Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, in which he quotes Dan Provost and Tom Gephardt, saying, “People really do want to see how the sausage gets made.” Some notes having to do with Baby Boomers sites, since one of my stories fits nicely, I discovered, in the “Boomer-Lit” genre. An email from my former coworker about a temp on-call office support position she would be happy if I applied for (I didn’t). Notes jotted down on the other side of this email from a phone interview I had with a trainer of service dogs for diabetics, a possible feature in a story I’m working on. One of my short story drafts has a note written on the front page to remind me that I need to convert names to those I use in my “Death Cafe'” short story.
What you cannot see is my view from this writing work space: the deck outside the large glass doors that faces a field where sheep have been known to romp and frolic, and beyond that, majestic Mt. Rainier. On the railing of the deck is where I caught all those red-winged black birds with my cell phone camera, placed here on my blog to represent the community of readers I hope to share my literal lessons of life with.
Welcome to my blog and my writing world.