After a recent incident with a broken/leaking hot water boiler in my furnace room, I took it upon myself to start tidying up the downstairs of my house. The reason for this is threefold:
- I’d been concerned about water damage around the furnace room area of the basement and gutted a couple of the rooms to make way for inspection by myself and a contractor to ensure no serious setbacks;
- the place hasn’t been used much in the last year or so and, as such, has been accumulating clutter and various junk items that need to be removed if I’m ever to have people over in the future; and
- I’ve been crying out for a place where I can go, free of dogs and cats, noises and distractions of all kinds where I can write in what I imagine to be a more effective and productive environment.
This started me thinking about the type of writing environment I would prefer in contrast to what I currently have. In the past I’ve written in a variety of settings (library, school, behind a cashier’s desk, living room, den, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, campsite, etc.), but most often I find myself in the upstairs den with a cup of tea on the desk and books all around me. Of course, I’m not giving up the tea (that would be crazy talk) or my proximity to the books I love and often use as a source of inspiration, but I’m willing to try an area where I can feel more relaxed and indulge those writer-hermit tendencies.
The space I’m looking at takes up 80% of the bottom floor of the house and, in particular, one part of the larger rec room: it’s wide open, has a chesterfield-love seat combo, a bathroom, a bar (indeed!), and comfortable carpeting everywhere except in the bar. With this layout it’s quite possible I can survive down there for days without ever having to leave, much to my wife’s chagrin. Ideally, I will feel particularly at home in this space where there is room for naps, instruments for a distracting musical interlude (I did recently acquire a banjo), and plenty of reading/writing. I’ll also need a place to store important reference material and other quick-access items that’ll come in handy. It’s all still a work in progress, however, but one I’m excited about.
A personal place to write is essential to authors off all genres and styles. It’s quite an engaging topic and one others have taken interest in over the years (I think of Hemingway who would get up at stupid o’clock in the morning and stand at a podium for a couple of hours while he sought that one good page in a hundred). There’s a great blog out there, called Desk Space, that uses creative areas as a starting point for writerly discussion/interview. If you haven’t seen it before it’s worth the click. There are some great authors that lend you a look into their smaller world if you have a chance to check it out.