Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Office

I never know whether a writing space will work out or not -- it's a hoodoo thing, or Feng Shui, or something. One summer I built myself a nice cozy nook in the corner of my bedroom, and then spent four months banging my head on the cute little desk. When I moved my operations downstairs, into the living room I shared with two other people, both of whom were having life crises, suddenly I could work.

One winter in Montana, I borrowed a studio in an old grain elevator. It was the coolest office ever: you could see the place on the wall where years of falling grain wore away the wood. However, it was cold as Mars, and I didn't write a single word there, but just stared out the window at the trains backing up and moving their cars around.

Another bad place was my parents' basement one winter term. I still remember the smell: failure, desperation, and cat pee.

The best office I ever had was one I rented from an artist friend who owned an old Victorian railroad hotel. Mostly she rented the rooms to artists, but one of the rooms was too small for art, so I got it. The window looked out over a parking lot where I could watch the guys who worked at the investment firm I used to temp at as they went out the door and into the bar next door. The smell of frying chicken wafted in. God, it was so great: the room was small but full of light, and not once did anyone ever knock on the door. I wrote tons there.

The office I moved out of today was in an old clock factory converted to shops and offices. My room was above a musical instrument repair shop and a pet grooming studio. I enjoyed listening to the sounds of french horns and dogs barking, and it was a good place -- I got more done there than I had in recent years. But we're moving out of town and the commute would be too much, plus, there's a nice little room I can have for my own in the new house. We'll see how it goes.

I suspect there's not much behind my superstitious reverence for certain Good Writing Places -- possibly they work only because I need them to work. I also got a lot done in my college snack bar, because that's where they sold the giant cookies I lived on in those days.

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