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Where We Write, Part 2

By Kathryn Pritchett
January 26, 2021

This week we continue our tour of the Paper Lantern Writers’ “writing caves.” Come see where the other lanterns make writing magic happen.

A portrait of Ana and her dog keep her company at her desk.

My cave moves around my house a lot. 

Sometimes I write in “the office”, where having a large monitor in front of me makes me feel like I’m conducting an orchestra. Often–when I’m really emotionally close to what I’m writing–I write from bed. Sometimes I write on the couch, sometimes on the floor. Neither one of those is comfortable, but again, I like being really close to the world inside my computer. Anywhere I write, my dog is with me.

Recently I’ve been writing from “my room”, a large room that contains all of my books, my desks (yes, plural), my research photographs & postcards, and of course, my dog. It is like a cave, because it has few windows and is always chilly. (It does have a fireplace, but I’ve never used it.) My computer is set up on an old dining table and I write directly on my laptop. No oversized monitor for me! 

I read last year that–feng-shui wise–it’s best (aka “the power position”) to almost face the entrance to any room you’re in. So, I’ve adjusted my desk so that I almost face the entrance. And I do feel more powerful, the mistress of my domain, knowing that the only villains that will sneak up on me are the ones I write about!

What I’d like to change: I inherited a lot of things that (pre-pandemic) I’d been selling on eBay or Next-door. They are stored, of course, in “my room”. In 2021, I’d like to find a home for everything I don’t want and create more me-space in my cave. Wish me luck! 

 

~ Ana Brazil

 

Linda shares a desk with her husband!

A writing cave should be a cozy space full of books, a space private enough to get lost in the world you are writing. My writing cave is more of a writing town square. I share a desk with my husband, knee to knee. Luckily, he rarely sits there (When he does, he chats nonstop to me, but that’s another story). The room with the desk is in the center of the house, between the front door and the kitchen, between the TV and the bathroom. This is why my best writing time is before 8:30 a.m. when I’m the only one awake and the house is quiet. Some of my books are in the same room, and some are in another room. At least there’s a fireplace and a window to the back yard for daydreaming, and inspirational photographs of my ancestors hang on the wall behind me. I can’t complain. I’ve written several books in this place, so it clearly works for me!

 

~ Linda Ulleseit

 

Edie perches in writing nests around her home, but her tools and files live here.

My writing cave is moveable. I have an excellent desk–a restored 1920s American cherry wood secretary desk, complete with closeable lid and secret drawers. Except…it’s too small for all my research materials, my computer, and the loads of books I use on a daily basis. So, I often create a “nest” in other places–places with better light, usually. I gather up the materials I need: my longest computer cord, my fluffiest socks, and a cup of tea in order to get to work. 

~ Edie Cay

 

C.V. looks forward to renovating her son’s room as a writing space.

For the first two years of writing my work-in-progress, ROSES & REBELS, I wrote whenever and wherever I could find the time. I have a blue chrome book that I took with me everywhere I went. Working as a substitute teacher, there was many a prep period spent tapping on the keyboard at someone else’s desk, writing prose and dialogue. Each day brought a new school, a new classroom, and a different desk, maybe a table, sometimes sitting in a small, low chair designed for a child in primary school.

A lot of writing also took place at my desk and hutch in a room that doubled as my office and a guest room.  For the past year, this has been where I pushed my way through the second draft, the rewrite phase and now the editing process.  During that time, the biggest and most life-changing revision to my work area has been the addition of a second monitor. This has made it so much easier to do a quick Google search for confirming information or popping up the dictionary or thesaurus. No more flipping between programs.

What is ahead for 2021? My youngest child just moved out and I plan to take over his bedroom and turn it into my own personal workspace. I look forward to beginning my next writing project there.

~ C.V. Lee

 

Kathryn relishes having a room of her own at last.

My current writing cave is anything but cave-like. Though it’s on the bottom floor of our house in the Oakland Hills, it opens onto a southwest facing deck that looks over the San Francisco Bay. I love this light-filled space and the proximity to three cheery orange umbrellas and many flower-filled pots. For years, I worked out of corners of rooms that did double-duty—kitchens, family rooms, guest rooms. But when we downsized to our empty nest, I gained an aerie-like room of my own.  

Behind me is a wall of overflowing bookshelves and the window ledge contents belong in a New Age knickknack shop. There’s a deck of tarot cards that I use for writing inspiration and a variety of crystals (not quite sure what any of them symbolize but I’ve always liked colored stones). Wall art includes one of my own childhood drawings, an antique photograph that I picked up at the Paris Flea Market years ago and framed inspirational messages created by artist Lisa Congdon. One reads “Magic Happens.” Magic is definitely part of my writing process.

What I’d change . . . my files need a major purge to reflect my current projects. And a couple of light fixtures don’t quite suit this contemporary space. So, I hope to “lighten up” in 2021. 

Kathryn Pritchett
Written by Kathryn Pritchett

Kathryn Pritchett writes about strong women forged in the American West. To interact with her and the other Paper Lantern Writers, join us in our Facebook group SHINE, on Instagram, and Twitter.

View Kathryn’s PLW Profile

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