Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What’s Goes on in My Writer’s Lair

 by Kay Kendall
While I would happily write in a garret—as nineteenth-century authors often did—instead I only use our third bedroom that was originally intended for guests. Since these days I don’t even open the lair’s door and let our cleaner inside, you can guess just how many guests have stayed in it recently. That’s right. None.

I began to call the room in which I work the writer’s lair before I looked up the precise definition of the word. I thought it conveyed the sense that I wrote in a dark, secretive place. For purposes of this little essay, I decided to consult
1.    a den or resting place of a wild animal: The cougar retired to its lair.
 2.    a secluded or hidden place, especially a secret retreat or base of operations; a hideout or hideaway .
     3.    British. a place in which to lie or rest; a bed.
      Meaning #2 is the closest to how I use my room, although the other two meanings make me giggle. Sometimes I do indeed feel like a raging wild animal, and other times I feel like I need a kip, as the Brits would say, which is to say a nap!
When I enter my writer’s lair, I shut the door against the world. Only my cavalier King Charles spaniel Wills is allowed to enter, and he always sleeps on my feet. When he can’t have my lap, then my feet are second best. His breed was purposely developed 500+ years ago to sit on the laps of royalty. So I guess my feet are sort of royal.
I am not one of those authors who can write while listening to music with sung words. The words fight with those in my head that are trying to make their way out to paper. Moreover, if the tune has a strong beat, my attention goes in that direction. So, bottom line, for me a quiet space is best. Listening to Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, and their like can sometimes be a good thing. The volume has to be subdued though so I don’t get drawn too far down into those glorious melodies.

I edit as I go along. I cannot bear to rush through a first draft, leaving ugly sentences in my wake. Of course, after a sort-of first draft is done, I return and do umpteen swings at editing all over again. All the while, I berate myself for not writing perfect sentences the first time through. I need to post a sign on my cork board in front of me that says ALL GREAT WRITING COMES FROM REWRITING. In short, I am not a fast writer. Wish I were though. Sigh….. 

 My three bunnies Midnight, Bella, and Precious Junior are jealous of Wills and his ability to join me in what could as aptly be called The Happy Hovel. The bunnies would have a fine time tearing into the books and papers that lie all around, turning my space/hovel/lair into a bigger mess than it already is. When I worked with others, nine-to-five (or so) prior to my writing fulltime, I coined a motto for myself, one which I live by religiously. NEVER TRUST ANYONE WITH A CLEAN DESK. That means, in short, that you really, really can trust ME.
So now how about you? What is your work space like? Do you manage to keep it tidy? If you do, all kidding aside, I do salute you!


 Author Kay Kendall is passionate about historical mysteries.  She lives in Texas with her Canadian husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills.
Visit Kay at her website  


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