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Monday, May 23, 2011

My Writing Space

My writing space, the area of the house which I call my office, is on the back porch. The porch is enclosed with seven windows and is heated, although a space heater is necessary in the winter time so my fingers don't freeze to the mouse. Behind me, placed along the wall, are the freezer, a vacuum cleaner, a rack of coats and a pile of shoes. The porch also includes the back door, which makes it the busiest room in the house.
I share my office with two German Shepherds and five cats. The dogs lay behind my chair, keeping me a virtual prisoner in front of my computer, for fear that if I move my chair I'll roll over someone's tail. The cats sprawl across my printers or lay on my bookcase absorbing the sun, that is, when they aren't walking across my desk, leaving muddy footprints on my calendar or knocking one of my many piles of research notes onto the floor.
But what the porch does give me is an expansive view of our back yard and acres of surrounding farm land. When the windows are open I feel like I'm actually working outside and haven’t wasted the day. I can inhale the aroma of fresh cut hay, listen to the birds chirping in the trees, and feel the summer breeze as it blows all my research notes onto the floor; which I try to catch by instinctively shoving my chair backward. The poor dog yelps, (you'd think he'd learn not to lay there), as I shoot my chair forward to grab the cat, who has decided to tear through the screen to get to the robin hopping through the grass.
This chaotic little corner of the back porch is where I spend my day. And when everything is quiet and the phone doesn’t ring, (which causes Max to howl), I am actually able to type words on my computer screen.
What is your writing space like? Is it calm or chaotic? Do you have any furry assistants?

18 comments:

Marie Rose Dufour said...

I actually don't write in my home office, which thinking about it right now is funny. I have my laptop set up on a tv tray in the living room. The furry assistants are never far away. Either trying to cuddle on my lap or walking ever so daintily across the keys making everything I write all wonky!

Tina Donahue said...

OMG, do I envy you. I wish I had a back porch and acreage to look out on. Sounds wonderful.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I do wish I had those acres of farmland to look at. I do have a home office with a huge desk cluttered with books, papers and cups filled with pencils and markers. My cat sleeps in the chair most of the time but sometimes beside the computer. The dog had her blanket between the desk and bookcase where she hangs out. It's a cosy place but I like to take breaks from it when weather permits and go out on the deck.
Your space on the porch sounds so soothing and conducive to writing, Kathy.
I love your work. I have your last book, Lost Hearts, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Your stories are always so heartwarming.

Delaney Diamond said...

Kathy, I envy you that back porch. Sounds divine!

I write in my home office most of the time with the blinds open to let in the light. Some days I take my laptop down to the den or I write in bed.

Renee Vincent said...

Oh your "writing space" sounds lovely! That's where I'd like to write. Got any room for me?

Thanks for sharing, Kathy!

Desmond Haas said...

I sit in a cluttered office, surrounded by furnishings removed from a family room, still in rehab for the last three years. My two monitors, the LCD directly in front and an old 20" CRT to the right, serve as my workspace. In winter, one of our five cats, Zelda, sits on top of the CRT reaping the warmth from the electronics. From time to time, she wanders around my legs and gives little chirps, which is ZeldaTalk for I wanna go outside. If I don't break away from creativity, she jumps in my lap and kneads my stomach to get my attention--she does and I let her out the back door.

Macbeth, the large (92 lbs) rescue mix, normally resides upstairs, but frequently comes down to see me, stretching out behind my chair. However, when he hears nature calling, he rushes in to my office, whining and takes my arm in his mouth, pulling me toward the back door.

While normally, my office is quiet, in the evenings, when the rest of my family--wife and two teenagers--are upstairs, their floor, my ceiling acts like a bass drum. Rather than disturb me (some say I'm already disturbed), I find it soothing.

From time to time, the laser printer starts up, spitting out my 16 year old daughters homework. When she comes in to collect it, she also quietly gives me a kiss on top of my head and sneaks back out. I smile and continue on.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Marie,
Aren't cats fun. Mine ususlly add lines of a single letter. Buttons is the most persistent. I've sprayed him with air a couple of times, but he doesn't care. He just comes back later.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Tina,
Having all the windows around my work space is great, especially in the summer. I just have to scramble sometimes to close them if it starts raining. Sometimes I'm at work worrying that I left one open.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Sarah,
Acres of farm land is usually wonderful. They were mowing hay this morning. The down side to that wonderful aroma is when they start spreading manure on the fields.
Sometimes I wish I had a lap top or a deck. I do read research books or my critique partners manuscripts in my hamock chair on nice days.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Delaney,
Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to be able to write in bed. In the winter it would be so cozy. Instead I have my space heater at my feet and my hands in fingerless gloves. :)

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Renee,
I could move the cat cave and the waterer. Then you could have that bit of space between the bookcase and my garbage can-bins filled with pet food. As long as you don't listen to hip-hop when you write it would be good.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Desmond,
One of the things I miss, now that my kids have all moved out, is the boom boom of their music upstairs. They each played something different and kept their doors closed, but it did come through the floor. I guess I didn't mind because it meant they were all home and safe and happy.
Macbeth sounds like a cool dog. All of my animals are rescue. I like big dogs though 97pounds is bigger than either of mine.

Brenda Hyde said...

I love your writing space! The only time my house is quiet is either VERY late at night or early in the morning. The kids are 17, 16 and 11. When the boys were toddlers I realized if I didn't write and work on the computer where they could see me, and I could interact with them I'd NEVER get anything done. That has never changed. LOL I have a laptop now, and I write at the dining room table, and at night will move to a chair in the living room. Flexibility is good:) Oh, and we have 3 indoor cats that love to bug me!

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Brenda,
My writing space, while it might sound serene, can actually be quite chaotic. I have to deal with the back door, which aside from the kitchen makes the porch the busiest room in the house. Most days I don't mind. Actually I don't think I'd like to write closested away in an office with the door closed.

Fiona McGier said...

I learned to type by feel, since I took piano lessons for many years, and was an English major, typing 25-page papers on my old manual Corona. But I find it difficult to "feel the keys" on my laptop, and I dislike the touch-screen mouse. So husband bought me a separate keyboard and real mouse that work with my laptop so I can type as fast as I think.
My desk is by the back porch, but it's a pain to move all of the accoutrements along with my laptop, so I usually just open the back door and let the screen door blow fresh air on me.

The only time I use the laptop keyboard and touch-screen is when we go camping. Then I have to, but it slows me down.

Great post! I'm sure we are all attached to our writing spaces, because that's where our muses talks to us the loudest!

Adele Dubois said...

I agree that a beautiful view is good for the muse. Sounds like yours is lovely!

Best--Adele

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Fiona,
My husband has a lap top, which I was forced to use for a few days while mine was being fixed. I couldn't type on that keyboard to save my life. I suppose if I did it all the time I could write a complete sentence without errors, but I prefer my regular keyboard.
I wish my backdoor had a screen, but the cats would probably shred it.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Adele,
Thanks for stopping by. My beautiful view is showing me bolts of lightning in the distance, so I will have to shut down for a bit.
See you on Facebook.