A room of her own — slavish article on writer’s den

The New York Times’ article on author Roxana Robinson’s writing office is typical of the New York Times — over-the-top breathless. The photo is to die for. The room is a sparsely furnished, sparsely decorated bedroom. Robinson sits on the bed and types away at her laptop, and one can imagine that she never even thinks of her surroundings, so perfectly calibrated are they to fade into unconsciousness.

If there were any justice in the world, the article will make it impossible for her to ever work in there again.

Well… no. But I compare it to my own nook and I think that Robinson has got the right idea, even if she does have a ton of money and plenty of literary cred, and even if the article makes the space look like an idealized version of the writer’s garret, like a movie set or something.

You can’t write without a room of your own, and the room itself can’t be distracting.  In my pantry/laundry room, I have my computer and my pile of papers, books, and music. This is where I write and edit. It’s off the kitchen and I can close the sliding door (it gets hot but I have a fan). There are no windows. I look up and I stare at pegboard. In another life the room was a workroom. It isn’t lavish and it isn’t pretty but it gets the job done.

I don’t know what I would do with the meticulously kept office showcased in the Times. I’d probably get nothing done.

Anyway, here’s what mine looks like (and yes, off to the right, that is toasted sesame oil and supermarket-brand cheerios):


Just a little different.

The writing life — in which I receive correspondence at work

Words: 1,800, Total: 60,800!

Music: Lucinda Williams, Essence

Email conversation between my friend V and me:

Vanita: [sends picture of guy with amazingly unattractive yet obviously lovingly attended facial hair)
Me: But….why? Just answer me that and I can die happy.
Vanita: I can NEVER figure out why some guys do that crap. We were talking about john magnie, one of the leaders of the subdudes and an all around new Orleans musical treasure. I think he’s a really good-looking guy, except….he has this damn BILLY GOAT thing going on. It’s WAY beyond a soul patch…more like Uncle Sam run amok. Ick.
Me: It’s like Colonel Sanders.
Vanita: Yep. That’s it! I mean, when I see guys with the twirled handlebar mustaches, or the leprechaun beard, muttonchops or any of that crap, I always think about walking up to them and saying “if you’re wearing that and getting laid, consider yourself a VERY lucky man.”
Me: You would be doing them a favor if you did.

So any gents reading this. Why? Why?

Oh yeah, I have a blog

Words: about 20.

I had a brainstorm, which meant revising the existing bit that I last wrote. So not much headway, but I know where I’m going now. A side effect of the speed writing.

So yeah, this blog thing. Sorry about that. Life, and stuff. We had friends over Friday, and then got invited to a friend’s birthday party for the next night, and for me, that was utter debauchery and there went the weekend.

I’ve been nailing down book signings and should have a schedule soon. I promise. I am also developing a few fun surprises, so stay tuned…

This is a reminder also that the Apollocon writer’s workshop deadline is coming up: May 29. Check out the fully updated Web site for more information.

And coming this week — a writing lesson on showing, not telling. This is a tricky one. I want to make sure I develop this right.