Friday, February 10, 2017

Where I Work

Where I Work by Debra H. Goldstein

When I wrote my first author bio, I noted my ideas and my writings are diverse. Consequently, I named my personal blog ( “It’s Not Always a Mystery.” That blog title still captures my personality and authored works perfectly, but recently, I noticed there is another area in which I vary what I do – where I write.

I’ve always kidded if I can see water, even if it is bathwater, I am my most productive. That holds true – rolling ocean or gulf waves, rippling lakes, or placid tub water all calm me enough to create or clarify thoughts. Unfortunately, I live in a landlocked area and since my November foot surgery, I’ve been limited to showers (that’s another story to be told --- think fat naked lady trying to decide if she needs to call 911). Consequently, I’ve had to find other places for stimulation.

As I write this and later today do a final edit on what I hope will be my next book, I’m sitting in my living room in a one-hundred plus year old chair (recovered a couple of times during that period) that originally belonged to my grandmother. This room, decorated in blue, gold and orange is my favorite in the house we downsized to twelve years ago. It is bright, but comforting. The colors are restful, but bold. Two chairs, an ornate couch, and four mahogany tables belonged to my grandmother, my aunt, and then to me. Two end chairs, with backs that make me think of a harp, perhaps because they are placed near the piano bought for me when I was six, were my mother’s pride and joy. There is a mirror and vases over the fireplace, inherited from my
mother-in-law, that match the two Capodimonte lamps that no one in the family treasured except my grandmother and me. Although I may play music on the piano or through an iPod, there is no television or other distractions. I work diligently in this room and I am at peace.

Working in the over-sized club chair in my bedroom is different. That chair, which was designed for my father, who like me had long legs, has an extra depth of two inches. Add those two inches to the ottoman that can be pulled to touch the chair, and perfect comfort can be achieved. It is a room for drafts – for starts and stops – for formulating ideas and letting them percolate while the television in front of me calls my name to turn it on and make short shrift of my work. Despite my willingness to be distracted in this room, I am proud of the work product produced there.

Ironically, my least productive writing room is my office even though I spend most of my time there. In our former house, my office was a 600-square foot sanctuary with a wall lined with bookcases. When we downsized, I adopted a 13x15 bedroom and placed my computer on a credenza between the two windows so I could write looking over the tops of the neighborhood’s houses. I hung an inspirational picture above the credenza. Turning my back to the credenza, brings me to my oversized desk which sits before a smart television. The sides of the room have free standing floor to ceiling bookcases – biography on one wall, mysteries overflowing on the other. Because of the limited space, I had to move novels and literature to the hallway, children’s books, plays, and non-fiction to another bedroom. Although I write some drafts in this room, most of the time, I use my stand-alone desktop to polish manuscripts, make sure spacing and formatting is correct, and to send the final copy from. Paperwork, social media, promotional activities, and all business-related chores are handled in my office. There is creativity present in the room, but it is tinged with reality.

Having had my step climbing limited the past six months, I moved key parts of my office into my dining room (computer, printer, paper, pens). That elegant room now looks like the Martians have landed and it wasn’t pretty. It is not restful or enjoyable to work there. My chair, wonderful for formal dinner parties, is stiff for creativity. The room, which is fun to laugh and spend an evening in with friends, is lonely when I’m alone. Working in there is a stop and go process interspersed with games of spider solitaire. I want my dining room back the way it was meant to be.

The interesting thing to me is how different the places I write or do author related things are. As diverse as they are, they represent the diversity that is part of being an author and what makes me who I am as a person. Where do you write and how does it impact you?


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  2. I love these photos of the rooms where you write! They remind me of you and your writing. They make me feel at home as your words always do. Thank you for sharing and best wishes for your recovery!

    1. Paula,
      Thank you. It is funny how surroundings influence mood.

  3. I write at the kitchen table, so I can remain seated to let the dogs in and out. My favorite watercolor, of Nauset Marsh on Cape Cod, hangs on the wall.

    Great job with your downsizing.

    1. Pictures spur my mood. I used to keep a postcard of the sun over water in my office because it reminded me of a cruise and was peaceful and a framed picture of piano keys that inspired me to production. In my private office, a picture of a writer's tools hangs over my computer.


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