Monday, November 26, 2007


Chapter Two – Find Yourself a Place

Remember Jessica Fletcher? She wrote all those murder mysteries – presumably cozies – in the comfort of her turn-of-the-century, meticulously-restored virtual mansion in the mythic and friendly New England village of Cabot Cove. In reality, it was a California coastal exterior and a rather nice studio interior, and of course, she wrote nothing as she was a fictional character herself, although the fiction persists and there is a whole mystery series written by "Jessica Fletcher" and available today.

As a well-off widow with means, she had the time to be a busybody and the money to pursue not only the murderers, but also a life of ease when it came to tapping out her tomes on that gorgeous old typewriter.

Okay, that's fiction. What do we do in real life?

In real life, we work at other jobs, take care of the house and kids, and deplore the lack of space, time, money and machines. We write in the kitchen, the dining room, a corner of the bedroom or the garage. We write at Starbuck's or in the park, or on the bus or at work. We use a pen or pencil, a big work station, a laptop, or even a typewriter.

We write cozies, hard-boiled noir, police procedurals, character studies, science fiction, film scripts, short stories, memoirs, journals, magazine articles and blogs. We write for money, for fun, for everything in between, and for our readers and ourselves.

I have been absent from the blog for almost a month – and guess what I've been doing: what, writing, you say? How about procrastinating and looking for a place to write that feels as good as the one I had back when I was working and had little time and a lot more discipline.

I needed to find myself a place, the way the dog turns around countless times on that old blanket, or the cat scratches that worn out chair pad to ribbons before settling in with a sigh.

It's got to feel right and not get in the way of writing. Pleasant, but neutral, no big distractions to block out, no spectacular views or the sound of running water (a hundred trips to the bathroom taught me this one) or the distracting smells of bread baking, dirty diapers or an incipient electrical fire.

Gotta admit, I found it – it's not to so much just the place, but the combination of the right time and a good place. For me, it's mornings in my old corner of the guest room office, with the diffused light behind me and the comforting distant sounds of the dryer and the trash guys picking up the garbage.

So try to find yours – it's half the battle.


CHAIR CUSHIONS Okay, here's the promised photo of the new cushions on the Danish chairs. In fact, here's a before and after shot, with just the edge of the old, worn out brown cushion visible – the new mid-mod pattern is beautiful, no?

WEIGHT LOSS And one more beautiful thing: my blood sugar seems to be in the normal ranges and I have lost 15 pounds.

The "before" picture is me 15 pounds ago, but the "after" picture – one of me last weekend taking pictures at an old Joseph Lautner-designed motel in Palm Desert – is a work in progress. I am determined to lose all the weight I gained a few years ago when I had the stroke. I know, it's a tiny image and I need to get a better one, but I want to lose another 10 pounds before I take a "real" picture of myself.

A Truly Beautiful Thing: Thanksgiving Dinner with my friend Nancy's family. We have had Thanksgiving with them many times over the years – and have lived through the loss of parents, in-laws and friends. But this Thanksgiving we celebrated the marriage of one of the nephews and the whole cycle of renewal and thanks.
Hope your Thanksgiving was memorable and happy.


bunnygirl said...

Good job on the weight loss-- it's a hard goal to stick with!

When we moved into our house in August I had a real dilemma with where to do my writing. Oddly, the increase in space led to issues that had never come up before in terms of who slept when and where, and the placement of computers therein.

We solved the problem by buying a very nice cherry laptop cart. I can write anywhere I like now, although I do have a preferred spot.

Once I finish cleaning up and furnishing the studio, though, I might move out there. No pesky critters or husbands! :-)

Kate Thornton said...

Wow! Mobility! I never thought of a rolling place to write - that's brilliant!

writtenwyrdd said...

I love my little desk in my bedroom, but the kitchen table is the best spot. I work so much better with a big, huge, blank table top. For me, the real problem is the settling in to the writing process, not the place.

Julie said...

Thanks - very helpful focus this
(and loved the comment on Bernita's blog re tumble drier...)

I've been laid up for a leg injury for three months and started blogging three weeks ago. Have been using a laptop on a side cabinet and have decided to work up in this room as it has a view and is quiet.

Creating the different set of boundaries to blog/write/HW is the new ball park with me...

Bernita said...

Dear One, am so glad about the weight loss. It's a major factor in controlling sugar levels and difficult for anyone with restricted exercise options ( like my hisband).
Soon you will be svelte again.

writtenwyrdd said...

I noticed you mentioned my blog on the Absolute Write forum. I am flattered you think me worth visiting daily. :)

And the weight loss is a tough chore, congrats.

Kate Thornton said...

writtenwyrdd - of course I love your blog! And it's a lot of useful stuff, too! I like the kitchen table idea a lot - as a kid our kitchen table was the hub of the household. Now I don't even have one - but I have found my spot, I think.

julie - it's so true - blogging is a whole different beast. But it keeps me in touch with other writers in a way I can't get elsewhere. All my writing buddies from AW and EE and other blogs come by like a wonderful party. And new people pop in all the time too.

Bernita - I think of your husband often, and hope he's doing well. For me, the hard part of the weight loss is waiting for the next day to step on the scale. Well, that and seeing cake everywhere. I do love cake.

December/Stacia said...

Great on the weight loss! I've lost 10 lbs in the last couple of months but the last 5 is killing me, it just refuses to come off!

I write in the living room, whenever I can. It's not ideal but it works.

Kate Thornton said...

december/stacia - this most recent 5 lbs is a slow haul, too - I think our bodies adjust to the new regime and we have to do even more.

And the room where you do your living sounds like a good place to do your writing, too!

Chumplet said...

I think you look pretty darn good in both pictures.

I think I have the matching sofa to those chairs! The arms look exactly the same. I painted the wood cobalt blue.

I think I was most productive at my little desk shoved in the corner of the dining room. There wasn't much room so I had to swing one dining chair around to work. Then my butt got numb from the wooden seat.

Now that I have a laptop without a fried keyboard, I can take it anywhere in the house -- the bedroom, the sofa, the can...

But for some reason I'm not making much progress with my WIP. Maybe it's because I'm not in a special place for writing. No discipline? No inspiring pictures taped to the wall in front of me? A coincidence?