December 31st, 2008

me w/z-z

Once upon a time there was a tiny office ...

I think it was Stephen King (or Annie Lamott?) who said that they wrote in the space between the washing machine and the deep freeze on their back porch.

I'm one step up from that: I have to go through my laundry room, past the dirty clothes shrieking, "Wash me! Wash me!"  to get to my office.

It's small and plain.

                    It's also messy and disorganized. Some people might call it a closet. I would ignore them.

The important thing about my office is that it has two windows for gazing,

and a bulletin board that provides inspiration and general relief, when needed.


This is the hat Rita Williams-Garcia knitted for me during my last semester at Vermont College.

          I was Rita's student. She's a much better teacher than she is a knitter.

       I'd like to say the picture doesn't do the hat justice, but it does.

        Last, but not least, this is the sentiment I wrote to remind myself that what I'm doing is fun, and should be regarded as such, and that if I ever stop thinking of it as that, I need to stand up, turn around, and go out and do a load of laundry to put it all firmly back in perspective.   

Good writing, best of luck in 2009, and Happy New Year.


Carrie Now

A Writer's Office Is Oftentimes a Pretty Stinky Place

My office is crammed between the refrigerator and the piano.

My filing system is the piano bench

This is because there's not enough space to actually open the file cabinet. Note: I am not complaining. Note: The fact that the D Man has an entire office upstairs in a 13 by 10 room does not make me bitter at all. Nope. Note: The D Man works out of the house at a hospital, but you know... I'm not bitter. Nope. I'm not bitter. Me? Me?!? Bitter? 

I'm not bitter because I have a very cool view (That's the river beyond the whiteness):

And a very cool muse.

She's written all my books. She also composes. She works for cat nip. Luckily  I have a good supplier.

The Real Studio


Joyce Carol Oates says that “In public, we become public figures. But in private, we ‘become’ the individuals we are.” And for a writer, no place is more private than where we write, even if it's in a crowd of people. Here’s Oates as Renée Heineche portrays her…




I’ve written on kitchen tables, in closets and at coffee shops. Today I write in a room upstairs, with lots of window. This is the room our small house grew up around. It's full of books and the work of family artists. I love this new little chest...




And the painting over my desk…




And how one window looks onto three tall sugar pines, home to a crazed squirrel who loves to rumba. Sometimes that squirrel leaps his way onto the ponderosa visible from the other window, the one that hangs over the canyon.




My old wolf dog likes to sleep beneath this tree. He’s fond of watching the canyon. All that earth carved from lava rock and split by distant creek, filled with forest and caves and topped by—experts warn—still active volcanoes. I’m fond of watching it, too.



Out there beyond the glass is my real studio.




AS LONG AS THERE ARE BOOKS . . . plus a little bit of light

This is the cosiest room in the house.  It's also the room that gets the most light.  It's the family room or the library or whatever-you-want-to-call-the-room-where-we-like-to-hang-out.  My desk sits between two windows that look out on the woods.  Most mornings this time of year, there's a pileated woodpecker tapping away at a tall pine tree across the street.  My desk is close enough to the kitchen to refill my coffee cup as many times as I like and yes, it's also dangerously close to the refrigerator!             

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I love being surrounded by books and memorabilia, like this THANK-YOU NOTE from a third grader whose class my husband (whose last name is Brown) and I used to read to once a week.  Who says romance is dead!

Then, there are these figurines .... The Pied Piper and his followers......  For years they sat in my parents' living room.  Today they are falling apart.  If you look closely, you might notice the young piper, (third child from the left), is missing one arm.  I don't care.  Each time I look  at them, I see my mother and I remember things we did together and stories she told me about eccentric southern relatives I never met.  I keep thinking there's a story there somewhere...  


If I just show up at my desk every morning, who knows what will come.


Meanwhile, I hope you all have a Happy New Year.

Happy Writing!