Saturday, April 12, 2008

Where I Write

If I recall, back when Roger, in collaboration with his cat and coffeepot, was posting his first videos on the writers life, someone (possibly the estimable MFW Curran) suggested we show our workspaces. That brings up, as we say here on the West Coast, a lot of "intimacy issues" for me, but nonetheless I'm going to take a deep breath and Show All.

This is my primary workspace--where I do most of my consulting work, fiddle about on the internet, and answer my e-mail. In a normal household, this room would be the dining room. But we have never done anything so formal as to dine, so in our house it has been converted to a home office.

Sort of a mess, isn't it? Note the "Black Shelf," which is filled with the MNW novels. And, as of Testament, it's now full, too. Aliya starts a new shelf. Somewhere.

Note also that my view is of the corner of the room. I can't be trusted with a window; I won't get a damn thing done if physical reality has any chance to tamper with my monkey-like brain.

I write some fiction here, but not often. That's because I share this space with Pamela, whose chair is directly behind mine. And she's often on the phone, and that's sometimes a bit distracting. (At the moment, for instance, she's actually threatening someone. And it's about time, too, I say.) And, since I mumble and mutter and twitch while I write fiction, she probably wouldn't want me writing behind her anyway. Here's Pamela's desk:

She has another real desk in a real office, but this is where she does most of her work. You will also note that she is even sloppier than I am, and piles things on the floor. This is, I find, a key to harmony between boys and girls: always find a girl just slightly sloppier than you. It avoids a lot of recrimination.

But most of the time when I'm writing fiction, I'm doing it in the guest room upstairs:

This is slightly less sloppy than my desk downstairs. It's main drawback is that sometimes, as the name suggests, there are, um, guests in it. And that really puts a crimp in the whole thing.

We keep our coffeepot in the kitchen, and it refuses to offer suggestions of any original prose. We have no cat, although we have two birds, but their contribution is limited to hammering their beaks on the desk (apparently imitating the act of typing--I think they are under the impression I'm pecking at something edible).

There it is. Pretty dull, really. But now you all seem morally obligated to Show Yours.

And see if you can get Faye Booth to re-post hers from long ago. She has what appears to be an Edgar Allen Poe action figure, as well as a wealth of other inscrutable items. Now that's how a writer's desk ought to look.


Usman said...

I do my writing at the office after hours.
Only do some revising at home on paper. It is a bit difficult to show an image of my bed. People might get the wrong idea about the type of books I write.

David Isaak said...

Hi, Usman--

Yes, but it might up sales!

Usman said...

You mean, I can up sales with a picture of me unshaved and in my undies.

Matt Curran said...

Hi, David

It's fascinating to see where other writers do their thang... and I note that your writing space is a little bit tidier than Rogers!

However, I have a fear of being dominated... by tall bookshelves. Irrational I know, but I think it stems from a short story I wrote years ago about a guy who sold his parents antique book collection, only for it to return, physically, until he literally drowned in books.

Living where you do, aren't you afraid you'll be pelted by books when an earthquake occurs?

PS: Will post mine in the near future... It's changed a bit since the "Oak Park" days.

Anonymous said...

Loved this post, David. Like Matt, I'm fascinated by other writers' spaces. In fact, here in the UK each Saturday, the Guardian publishes photos of well-known writers' rooms. That column alone is well worth the cost of the takes-all-week-to-read-it Saturday tome.
Really enjoying your blog, by the way - lots of interesting and useful stuff on there. Thanks!

Faye L. said...

I'll take a couple more pics and post them to the MNWers blog if you like - I've acquired a bit more clutter since the old ones were taken, so they're a bit out of date.

David Isaak said...

Hi, Usman-- Well, it works for Madonna...

David Isaak said...

Hi, Matt--

I've been in a lot of earthquakes, but have so far avoided being buried in toppling books. As far as ways to go, though, it wouldn't be too bad.

We have more than a few books. When we have spare wallspace, it's quickly occupied by books.

I'll post a picture of what the neighbors call "the bowling alley," a weird long extension extension buily onto the the side of the house by previous owners. Everyone in the neighborhood questioned why anyone would want such a space: long, narrowish, and mostly wall.

Anyone with books would be able to answer in a second.

David Isaak said...

Hi, Anon--

(I've heard that name somewhere before...)

Yes, it's dangerous to start reading articles like that. There's also a book where someone traveled around interviewing mystery writers and included extensive pictures of thier digs. It's easy to waste many hours...(but pleasant.)

David Isaak said...

Hi, Faye--

Oh, please do. Your desk is always so much more interesting than the rest of ours...

Roger Morris said...

It's a privilege to get a glimpse of your writing space, David. Don't you find the shelves of books intimidating - even if they don't fall on you or do anything sinister? Don't they just mutely, and smugly, provoke you? I tend to have mostly non-fiction in my work room, apart from Dostoevsky and a few others.

Oi, Matt, what's that about mine being untidy??? I can't really argue with that though.

David Isaak said...

Hi, Roger--

I never really thought about it before, but, with the exception of the MNW books on that one shelf, all the books in both pictures are non-fiction. Fiction lives in another room entirely. So perhaps I'm intimidated by novels only?