Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Writing Room

Started on Every Author(Thanks David!). Jump in if you'd like!

The place I write is a rechristened breakfast nook that I covered in pale green indoor/outdoor carpet and papered in sunflowers. A ceramic face clock with a garden background and tiny sunflowers hemming in the numbers hangs on the wall ticking audibly. My desk looks across our back yard into a tree line of old growth oaks, walnuts, and cedars. To my left is a large window that gives a good view of my garden and the side yard. To my right is a back door that leads to a deck with a table and chairs on it and a kitty house built out of scrap lumber for Diogenese, an opportunistic tom cat who adopted us six years ago.

My office is messy, but sublime with the clutter of homeschooling. Children's school books and papers, two ant farms (all the ants are named Fred), a fish tank with two tiny black Mollies named Bonnie and Clyde and their butler--a plecostomus called Mister, a telescope, and a microscope fill the tops of bookshelves. The solar system dangles from the ceiling, the light fixture acting as the sun. Behind me, Hermit crabs, named Gia and Jack, scuttle across their tank; their shells tap the glass as they turn and settle.

I am rarely alone--nearly always accompanied by Solomon, an aging German Shepherd who snores on a cushion near my feet, and Echo, a Siamese mix and one of numerous cats, is usually curled up on top of the printer. A two foot tall rag dall I rescued from a tree a few months ago in the woods looks on. The boys have dubbed her Sally and tell fascinating stories as to how she got in the tree. Me, I think it was Satanic ritual, binding someone's soul to the nether planes of existence, blithely undone by my strange kindness, as I was compelled by forces I did not understand to climb into the lower branches and retrieve her.

My desk shows my best intentions gone askew. Teacher's manuals, a student driver's book, Strunk and White, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, a dictionary, and a leatherbound Hitchiker's Guide by Douglas Adams are wedged between a stack of CDs and the monitor. Household bills in manila folders marked paid and unpaid are stacked in the cabinet just above. Lining the top and scattered across the surface are gifts from the boys and Gary--a stuffed reindeer named Rudy, hand made paper flowers, a still working three legged Tekno Robotic Puppy and Cat my husband "rescued" while cleaning out a barn for a friend, a handmade potholder, a sky lantern my son, who is a senior his year, bought for me is still in its package because if I light it I have to let it float away and I'm not ready for that. Pictures of my nephews and nieces (Gary and I are practicing our grandparent skills on them), of the boys when they were all small-just after Joseph was borne, a 4-H paper weight and certificate I received as YPA of the year, boxes of envelopes, scented bubbles (a gag gift from my sister), a fox-shaped candle my mother gave me when I was ten, and an a package of coffee bought in a giftshop while on our trip to Montana in October are tucked in the holes and cubbies.

I write here most of the time, in the midst of the noise of family life. I used to think I'd love to live by myself on a mountaintop and write all the time, but I don't function well like that. I am best when surrounded by family. It's where I think most clearly. I like the earthboundedness of it, the steady beat of life moving around me as I type.


Scotty said...

Echo? Gee, I like that name for a pet - very cool, Mary; whose idea was that name?

Desks... if a cluttered desk is a sign of a busy mind, what does an empty desk signify? *grin*

Steady beat of moving life, huh?

Hammer, saw, grind, chisel, drill, plane, sand, rub, bend, push, pull, drag, carry, lift, drop, push, pull, slide, fart (oops, sorry), take down, put back, cuss...

"What's that, hon?"


Mary Paddock said...

Echo's name was my idea. His predecessor was a lookalike named for E.E. Cummings (Eek, for short) who got out and disappeared about eight years ago--breaking my heart. In fact I thought it was him when I first saw him (answering an ad in hopes that it might be). Thus the name.

A clean desk means you don't have someone like me living with you--I can fix that clean desk syndrome right up (better than Zoloft!) :)

As to the "steady beat"--not fooled by the romantic wording hmm? I do like the household noise, I just wish it was muffled by a door.

Dennis Bryant said...

My writing room is temporarily out of order. It turns out that Rusty is endlessly fascinated with the new tree hanging full of dog toys (AKA Christmas ornaments.) To keep peace in the family I've moved my desk into the living room. The Christmas tree is on top of it thereby putting the ornaments out of reach. It looks a little goofy, but the dog and his mother are once again living in harmony...

Mary Paddock said...

LOL Dennis. Another good solution is to put it in a playpen (the tree, not the dog).

In our house it's the cats we have to watch. In fact, Delilah (no longer with us, sadly) was the worst. At thirteen years old, she would drag ornaments off the tree and carry them off. She thought Christmas trees were excellent places to keep cat toys.