Every writer has a favorite place to meet their Muse. For some, it’s ‘neath the shade of a tree in the local park. Others may choose a cabin in the mountains. I know one writer who takes her laptop to the café at Barnes and Noble and pounds out stories while sipping Latte’s and munching biscotti.
My playpen is a spare bedroom in my house that evokes Fred Sanford’s junkyard. I like to think of it as organized chaos. The top of my desk is littered with papers that I’ve convinced myself are important, although at times I’m not sure why. I’m surrounded by posters from my favorite Bogart and Clint Eastwood movies. Alongside these I have a souvenir of one of my proudest achievements, a poster advertising a book signing tour I did in The Florida Keys a few years ago. There’s also a framed copy of a terrific interview I gave to a newspaper in The Keys.
Of course I have a bookcase filled with my favorite paperbacks by Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler and Ian Fleming. Another shelf is devoted to old books about movies. These fight for space with Roget’s Thesaurus, a dictionary, The People’s Almanac and a dog-eared copy of Catch-22.
There’s a couch that no one can sit on because it’s piled high with promotional materials, half-finished manuscripts I lost interest in, a few cameras and a stack of rare Sinatra LP’s. I believe there’s an e-reader in the pile, too, but I can’t say for sure. If I dug deep enough I’d probably find that overdue book the Library’s been hassling me about.
I have a credenza that’s filled with research material, including brochures, newspapers and photographs from places I’ve visited. Since I tend to gravitate toward romantic adventure stories, I have a book devoted to firearms so I can be accurate when describing what kind of gun the hero pulls on the bad guys. There are also a few how-to books, like Romance Writing for Dummies and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published. I didn’t say I had all the answers. Another research book that’s useful is The KISS Guide to the Kama Sutra. Not only good for writing sex scenes, it’s warmed up a few winter nights as well.
I think most writers have notebooks filled with random thoughts that hit them while waiting in the Dentist’s office and I’m no exception. I looked through a couple of them and found the following nuggets, some of which I’ve used.
He had all the charm of a statue but not as much personality.
She was as nervous as a hooker in a Confessional.
The office itself wasn’t much – slightly smaller than the Astrodome, with a desk you could land a light plane on.
The men were going for the drug dealer wannabe look – Armani suits over white muscle shirts and garish jewelry – that concealed their drab lives as nine-to-five office dwellers.
“You think he’s telling the truth?”
“I wouldn’t put anything past him.”
“You’ll need to speak to my secretary, Singletary.”
Vic gave him a blank look. “Singletary the secretary?”
“Must get confusing.”
So what’s in your playpen?
Tim Smith is an award-winning author whose books range from romantic intrigue to contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance photographer. More information about his books can be found at http://www.timsmithauthor.com/.