Thursday, November 18, 2010

Come into our parlours…

by Cara McKenna

Ever fall in love with a book or an author voice, an entire oeuvre, and then wonder exactly where the writer's butt was parked while they were toiling over those words? No? Well too bad. I'm taking you there anyway.

I invited my fellow Chicks and a few of my favorite sister authors to share pictures of their usual writing spots. It's an intimate realm, and if these walls could talk they'd probably tattle on us. Many a tear has been shed, a triumph squee'd, and a frustrated breath huffed or howled in these spaces.

Cara McKenna
My own space is modest. Our condo is the top floor of an old house here on Boston's North Shore, and my office is actually our… Hmm, I dunno what the room is called. Gigantic mud room? Tiny front parlor? At any rate, it's a nice little space with a window that looks out onto the cove across the street and a skylight in its eave (currently being rained upon). It's the coziest room ever…except that one's husband is forever tromping through it to enter or leave the house or access the closet. Still, I do 95% of my writing at that desk, and I do my read-throughs and mark-ups in the papasan chair beneath the skylight. I painted the walls my favorite color, chartreuse. This room is the home of an ancient Underwood typewriter, which looks down upon me, wishing they still made its ribbons so it could usurp my Mac's position of power.

Items of note: you may be able to spot Chicken Hat atop my computer station, and upon the windowsill is a pair of binoculars, used not for leering at the neighbors [usually] but for ogling the bufflehead ducks out in the cove. The binoculars are sitting on the most overworked book in our place—the Peterson Guide to Birds of North America. Oh yeah…my bird-nerdery, witness it.

Delphine Dryden
Del says: "I thought it was important to add this shot to show a few very important tools of this writer's trade. First, note the full cup of coffee. I am clearly ready to meet the morning's keyboard challenges! Also, for anybody who has met me in person, you'll know that the little footstool down there is not optional. When I made hubs build me this little shelf-desk (so I could work and still keep an eye on the kids in the living room), I just had him do a standard desk height because my chair didn't adjust far down enough for my feet to be flat on the floor anyway. The floor on which I just noticed, looking at this picture, the dog has once again scattered kibble along the baseboard.

"Finally, it's important to maintain a connection with the environment, nature and wildlife as you work. Fortunately for me, I get plenty of wildlife right outside that window because at night, that's where the armadillo always tries to break into the back yard. It just does not get more exotic and romantic than that."

Dalton Diaz, ably assisted by Simba
"This is a typical writing day with Simba, the mighty toy poodle. Actually, he's usually draped across my arms with his head on my chest, lookin' for love. Thank God he's smaller than most cats."

Christine d'Abo
"Here are two pictures of my desk. Yes, I am in the basement. No, there is no carpeting under my feet. I have to have one big old slipper to keep my toes warm. I'm not showing the kitty litter box five feet from where I sit. Let's just say it's motivation for me to empty it every week.

"I'm also giving you a close-up of some of my geekiness. These are some of my desk toys. Yes, Doctor Who hangs out with Lego Catwoman. They have fun times with the whip. I've hidden my Torchwood pictures. ;)"

Ashlyn Chase
Ash didn't include a caption, and I can only assume that's because her workspace speaks for itself…probably saying something to the effect of, "My torture chamber is comfier than your torture chamber."

Wynter Daniels
"It's a mess, but I know where everything (almost) is. I started five years ago hanging my book covers over my desk. I had to skip a bunch when I ran out of room. I now have 15 covers on my wall and I have no idea what I'll do as more come in, but I will manage ;-)"

Savannah Stuart
"This is a picture of my office before I moved a few months ago (you can see the Christmas decor from last year, lol) but the layout is basically the same. And if you want to know how 'glamorous' I am, my writing attire usually consists of wearing a pair of my husband's sweat pants and one of his old Dropkick Murphys t-shirts. Yes, super sexy."

Michelle Polaris
"Here are two pics of my office space. I work in chaos. I think this must have to do with needing contrast with other types of control in my life."

Charlotte Stein
"As I have absolutely no idea how to take a photo and upload it, here is my workspace, done in glorious MS Paint. Enjoy the masterful brushstrokes! Marvel over the artistry! Wonder what in God's name half of the stuff in the picture is!

"In fact, you could probably run a contest, based on guessing what half the stuff is meant to be."

Okay, Little Miss MS Painty-Pants, I will. The first person to correctly identify the brownish rectanglish segmented thing in the very upper right (on what I suspect is a side table covered in candies, just above the pile of zebra corpses) can have their choice of any of my (Cara's) ebooks. Also, are those Sharlto Copley's socks on your bed?

And those are our glamorous lives. I know—no pool boys holding trays of bon-bons, no hulking model-muses posing at our command so that we may capture the subtleties of their rippling pectorals. Just somewhere to sit, a bit of privacy, a word receptacle of some sort, some personal comfort items. What this job lacks in elaborateness it makes up for in low overhead. Thanks for visiting! Now get out—we have word counts to hit.


Delphine Dryden said...

Chocolate. What else could it be?

I have no idea what the nearby confetti-looking stuff is, though. Unless it's that Ms. Stein just threw a celebratory handful of confetti in the air after crafting a particularly rousing paragraph about Sharlto Copley's socks!

captcha word: "gored". Which was a bit too graphic for me first thing in the morning, honestly.

Sommer Marsden said...

i was about to say that Del! damn. lol. Better yet, Bradley Cooper flavored chocolate.

Gotta say, my nosiness loved this post, but when I got to Charlotte's I almost slid off the sofa laughing.

Thank you, charlotte. I am awake now. :)



Hailey Edwards said...

I assumed the brownish thing was a giant chocolate bar. *blinks*

I did wonder about the red blob with the white square and what looks like a cord. Since this is Charlotte we're talking about, it made me wonder if it's not a coin-operated, vibrating bed control?

Cara McKenna said...

Oh man, if that brown rectanglish thing is indeed a chocolate bar, I should have picked a harder object! I thought it looked like an ice cube tray. And obviously the "confetti" of which Del speaks is scattered Skittles (or rather their British incarnation…Razzles?) Can't you see the tear in the corner of the bag?

Penelope said...

I once saw a photo of Danielle Steele's home had white plush carpeting, all matchy-matchy super luxurious furniture, and was elegant, sophisticated and sparkling clean and organized. So was she--dressed in high heeled pumps and a sharp looking outfit. I'll take my PJs and desk covered with glitter, legos, old tea cups, post-it notes, and Christmas decorations. Works for me!

Wynter Daniels said...

Darn it - I knew I shouldn't have cut the bonbon-bearing hunky pool boy out of the picture of my work station.
It's cool to see everyone's cave. I don't feel like mine is so messy after that peek at Michelle's;-)

Charlotte Stein aka The Mighty Viper said...

Hee hee hee- I didn't think you'd post it! Now I look daft next to all of those sleek and office-like workspaces. I have a desk and a computer on it, but I never use it! Always in my bed, with my laptop.

Cara/Del- They're actually my socks! I always lose them in or on the bed after writing a particularly rousing paragraph about Sharlto Copley's other things. I wear those ones without elastic in them, so they're always flopping off me. And the confetti/Skittles stuff? Midget gems! Always on hand. Either that, or jelly beans.

Sommer- you know me too well. You even guessed the brand!

Hailey- You also know me too well. But alas, it's just the extension cord adapter thing that I plug my laptop into.

Thanks for posting it, Cara!

Michelle Polaris said...

Wynter, I aim to make everyone feel better by exposing my mess. See, it could always be worse.

Wynter Daniels said...

Thanks for that, Michelle. Keep up the good work;-)

Savannah Stuart said...

I love seeing where other writers pen their stories! And I've actually seen the fabulous Wynter Daniels' writing cave and it's very cozy :) And Charlotte?? Thank you for the laugh!

Cara Bristol said...

I love this post! What a great idea. I really liked seeing where other authors worked. Thanks, ladies!

Brenda Williamson said...

Michelle's work space looks a whole lot like mine.

Dalton Diaz said...

I get to spoil myself and go sit in that lap of luxury that Ash calls her writing space. I shoot for once a week. My spot is the right side as you look at the pic.

Simba stays home.