Thursday, March 18, 2010

a place to write

This special fantasy place- this place to write- has more than one version in my imagination. Let's call them VR, VU, and VS. VS is suburban, and where I now live actually comes close to being my ideal writer's setup within a suburban setting. Of course, I realize I'm fortunate to have my very own space, but it's more than that; it's gratifying that sometimes after years of creative planning and working towards a dream, idiosyncratic interior design goals- like mine- really can be reached.

It's not entirely perfect in that I occasionally share my computer, and am subject to some interruption by spouse and cat. But after decades of less than ideal setups, my little home office is appealing and useful and filled with things I love: two computer monitors, a small daybed made glamorous with an array of throw pillows, shelves filled with books both useful and collectible, personal ephemera in various little displays and dioramas, a small microwave, a coffeemaker, a space heater, a fan, attractive lighting, and an electronic keyboard right behind me on a second (glass) desk... a gift of music from my thoughtful husband.

Like the rest of the house, I clean this area myself. Although it's not a big room, there's a lot here to curate (dust), but at least everything is finally just the way I like it after years of tweaking. And at night, as it is now, any daytime problems with this writing space largely disappear.

The rural fantasy version of a place to write, VR, is modelled loosely on an actual single-room writer's retreat I saw in Northern California several years ago: a separate narrow building far from the main house, tucked away behind trees and accessible via an unpaved road; it had one long wall with a great deal of glass, revealing a couple of unmatched Alan Brady Show writer-style sofas dotted with various pillows and afghans, great towering and toppling stacks of resource materials, the entire space filled with funky accoutrements, vintage movie posters, flea-market furnishings, and personal ephemera. There's a small refridgerator, a hotplate, and all the appropriate provisions. With La Boheme on the stereo (and no barking neighborhood dog), surely great things can happen in a space like this.

The urban version, VU, varies somewhat and is a kind of composite. I've tried a few times to recreate it in the virtual world of Second Life, and the closest was a brick loft space in an exceptionally realistic art sim called Cetus, now gone. Of course, you can't actually be a writer in Second Life inasmuch as you're not really there; you can merely play at the idea of being one.

Or can you? When I had my virtual loft there, on a few occasions I would park my avatar at my virtual desk and then switch back to RL (real life) and do some real writing. It sounds strange to say this, I know, but knowing my virtual self was in that loft added an interesting psychological nuance to the writing session.

From time to time I check to see if real-life lofts are by some miracle affordable, but except for inaccessibly far away (or far too tiny), they never are. But it's still a great fantasy. This type of loft space more often ends up as a backdrop for my designer fantasies rather than my writing ones, but the two pursuits could definitely be combined. I wonder, sometimes, where Harriet Beecher Stowe did her writing. She probably didn't waste as much time as I do thinking about optimal writing environments, and simply sat at her desk and got down to the urgent business of writing.

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1 comment:

Sharon Jones said...

Thanks for telling me about this post! At first I thought I had somehow missed it, and then I saw that it was from 2010. I guess I am not alone in dreaming about the perfect place to write. :)

We are living in a tiny apartment right now, saving for a house. (again) Long story short: Hubby went back to school in 97, we've moved many times since...and now we are starting over!

Some day...I WILL have an office/den/library/ room of my own! At least that is my dream!
Sharon :)