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Welcome to my office. Sorry that it’s chilly in here. There’s no heating vent in the office itself, it has to share with the rest of the downstairs, and seeing as its February, the whole downstairs is a bit nippy. Sometimes my toes go numb, but it’s nothing some extra socks won’t fix.
See this picture, here? This is a snapshot I took of the inside of Hemingway’s office, at his Key West house, where I visited while attending a literary seminar in early 2005. At the time I was dreamy about publishing and searching for an agent. I took this picture as a sort of totem, and it’s been taped up near my desk ever since, though we’ve moved twice. That was three manuscripts before Real Life & Liars, so it took a while. (Also, I’ve always doubted his office was ever this neat in real life.)
When it gets too cold in my office, sometimes I come out to this big blue couch. But it’s so squishy and comfy, and the dog takes my working there as an invitation to slide himself in that small space between my stomach and my laptop, until he rests his head on my keyboard and starts writing his own experimental poetry, which goes something like this: “edx,l.ß0063,,cc”. Also, I get sleepy here, and start to gradually slip horizontal which is hardly conducive to productivity. So, moving on…
Here’s my kitchen upstairs. The kitchen table is a pretty good spot. Lots of room to spread out papers, not so comfortable that I get distracted by thoughts of napping, and unfortunately for the dog, no room for him to get in my lap. The heating works fine up here and I stay toasty warm with only one pair of socks. This is a popular choice when the weather’s bad.
But through the sliding door… Spring and summer mornings will often find me out here with the cordless phone, coffee, and the computer. And the dog. He likes these folding chairs, too. I put one in front of me and form an ersatz recliner, balancing the computer on my lap, while Lucky takes up residence in a third chair/doggy bed. Someday again soon I’ll be out there, though for now, it’s back to my downstairs office, because I feel fortunate to have any space that I can claim as mine for writing, even if my toes do sometimes go numb.
You see how it’s decorated with so much clutter? It might look like junk but it’s artwork by my kids, and souvenirs of fun times with writer friends, and look here. This tiny typewriter was meant to be a picture frame, but my friend Jill Corrin gave it to me as a birthday present, encouraging me to put an inspirational writing quote in the frame. And so I did. That was my thirtieth birthday, and now I’m 34. Again, it took a while. But that’s OK. I’m patient. And I have really, really good friends.