The Writer's Cave (in which I talk about writerly stuff)
So, here's my dirty little secret... (or one of them, at least)
Some of the questions I get asked most often are, "Where do you write? Do you have a special space? An office or nook you hole up in to craft your stories?" The truth always makes me a little sheepish. There are all kinds of things aspiring writers fantasize about; what it will be like to land on the NYT Best Seller list, what we’ll wear for our interview with Oprah, and who they’ll cast to portray our protagonists on the big screen. Yes, those are grand themes, but for me there was another fantasy, and it had to do with what the writer’s life is supposed to look like, including the myth and magic of The Writer’s Space. For as long as I can remember I’ve dreamed of having a writers cave, study, office, thingy—a sacred space where I could burrow in with my coffee and my laptop, perhaps an eccentric good luck totem, like a pink feather boa. And now, (pinch me) I have one—a sunny yellow room equipped with a desk the size of the USS Resolute, a comfy editing chair, a bookshelf lined with signed copies from my favorite authors, and cover posters of my very own novels. (SQUEE!)
But here’s the dirty little secret… I rarely use it. The truth is I do the majority of my writing sitting cross-legged on my bed with the cat half in my lap and old black and white movies running in the background. Or out on my back porch on a sunny day. Or sitting at the kitchen counter while the soup simmers. Or at one of our local coffee shops. I’d go on, but it’s a pretty long list.
It turns out that for me, in spite of my early belief in the need for a sacred space in which to create, the only truly sacred space is the one between my ears, that hallowed, and often muddy ground where the muse and my inner critic duke it every day. And since that particular space happens to be portable, (and so is my MacBook) I tend to choose the day’s writing space based on how “juicy” I feel when I begin, as well as whatever else happens to be on the day’s to-do list.
So, it boils down to this, really: I’m blessed to be able to write anywhere. Sometimes that’s at my desk, or curled up in my chair with a throw around my shoulders (like real writers do) But sometimes it’s in a moving car, at the beach on vacation, or sitting on the sofa watching Gator football. And if I happen to slack off, my four-legged editor, Simon, is always lurking nearby, ready to nip me back into gear. I guess you’d say the writer’s life isn’t exactly what I dreamed it would be—it’s better. Much, much better.