Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Got a New Office

As I write this, I realize the title is kind of a lie.  It's not like I've relocated or anything like that; it's just that I never had a place in my house that I used as my office, my writing nook, my lair.  Lair.  I like that.  Makes it sound like I'm a superhero.

Be that as it may, I used to write wherever the mood struck me.  Sometimes it was the living room, but it felt like public space, not like a place to hunker down and write. Others, it was the basement, though my 73-inch television often talked me into watching it instead.  It's like having a movie theater in your house--how do you not watch it when it's right there?  Once in a while, I would try the dining room table, but the chairs were designed by the Marquis de Sade and made my cheeks go to sleep in about twelve seconds.

Much of the time where I ended up writing was nowhere in the house at all.  One of my favorite spots has always been the little back corner at Panera Bread.  But, though I've never tried it, I have to think they would prefer that people at least buy a drink before coming in and hogging their Wi-Fi.  Even if they didn't say anything, I don't think I could do it without feeling too guilty to work.  And being an as-yet unpaid writer, I can't really afford to pay for the privilege yet.  Sadly, I often don't stick to coffee there either.  Have you ever tried not to eat there?  One does not simply walk into Panera without gaining a pound or two.

Another favorite spot, where I didn't feel guilty about using free wireless without buying anything was the Wood County Library.  Problem with that place, though, is not only do they not sell good coffee (or any coffee for that matter), but they don't even let me bring in a bottle of water.  I'm a bit weird about drinking from a public fountain.  I'll do it, but I won't like it.  I'm friends with the director; maybe I could talk him into installing a coffee shop. Or maybe I could just check books out of the library like a normal person.

I've had a room in my house that's been called the study or, alternately, the office since my wife and I moved in.  It has a whole wall of shelves with cabinets on the bottom.  Truthfully, the room is what sold me on the house.  I always felt like it would be a perfect place to work.  We even kept our desktop computer in there on a pretty substantial computer desk back before desktop computers gave way to laptops and tablets.  Eventually, it seemed silly to have that big desk that took up so much space in what was really a small room, made smaller by one whole wall being bookshelves.  So I sold the desk for a song and the room basically became storage.

But now I feel like I've turned a corner.  I cleaned out the clutter and many of the books that were just taking up space, with no chance I would ever even look at them.   Now I have a chair and ottoman with a reading lamp where I read and do my devotions every morning.  And in the opposite corner, I converted one end of the bookshelves into a little desk by taking out one of the shelves and adding a bracket.  Unlike the hulking computer desk that used to take up half of the room, this place feels like it was always here.  It fits.  It's part of the space instead of taking up space.  It's the exact right size and exact right location.  It's Goldilocks.  I find myself coming here in the evenings instead of crashing on the couch in front of the idiot box.  I grade papers here.  And I'm writing my first blog entry here. I've read so much about writers making a place to write.  I thought it was hooey.  It's not hooey.  Because I have an often time-intensive job, I haven't had much chance to write lately, but I feel like now, I'll make an effort to work it in since I have this place.  This room is my retreat. My writing nook.  My lair.

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