Saturday, July 23, 2011

Writing houses again

Our family used to have a dog that did this: If she didn't want to acknowledge the presence of something she was afraid of, like a cat or something she'd chewed up and knew she'd get in trouble for, she wouldn't look directly at whatever it was but would turn away and look at it out of the corner of her eye.

I am that dog, looking slantendicular when I think about (1) the upcoming semester, which is coming up at the speed of light; (2) an upcoming research trip that I would normally look forward to but am not prepared for; (3) serious academic controversies as reported by diligent bloggers; and (4) a ton of writing that is not going well at all. You would think it impossible to avoid looking at everything on your desk directly, including the computer monitor, but you would be wrong, although I can safely report that a day spent trying and failing to write is much more exhausting than actually getting the thing written.

Fortunately, The New Yorker's article "The Rise of the Tiny House" let me escape into my writing house fantasy again for a little while. I'm pretty sure that will help. That and getting the writing done.

(I will write a real post soon.)


Contingent Cassandra said...

I think profacero's got it just about right in the comments on the older post. I live in a less-than-400-square-foot studio apartment (which I call, and is, "a room of my own," and is basically a live-in study), and I'd argue that a bathroom (well, a toilet and sink) and minimal food storage and production facilities are a necessity (either that, or regular deliveries of food, which I believe are a feature at some writer's retreats). I think sleeping elsewhere could work just fine, but a chair that allows for a different/more relaxed posture than a desk is a good idea, if only for variety when one's back is acting up.

It's also a very good idea not to have signs of other responsibilities in sight (either in the room -- which is the problem with the studio apartment -- or out the window). The only problem with a much-loved but now lost converted-screen-porch study I once had was that the window looked out on an area where I was planning a garden, which was a distraction. I haven't yet had a chance to experiment with a more neutral view, but I think even that might tempt me to go take a walk (which might not be a bad thing; I often get good ideas when I write a bit, then walk).

To add to the fantasy-material list: Frederick Douglass had a "growlery," (a term borrowed from Dickens, and now, I see by googling, the name of a blog). There's a picture toward the bottom of the page here: .

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

On writing groups: the Mayhew group has room for two more (last time I looked), and the Notorious ADM group will do a re-boot in the fall. So I hope to see you in either or both spaces soon!

Ink said...

"slantendicular" = ♥

(I just wrote "splendidtasticness" at Digger's blog...we are on the same word-making wavelength, apparently. Tee hee!)

Our current dog does that, too. It's awesome. I had never thought about adapting that strategy. You are a genius.

But good luck with everything that's making you want to look that way...

charlotte gordon said...

I love the slant eyed look. That is how I view the approaching semester, as well. Except this morning when it struck me between the eyes. horrible. What a great blog this is. Thank you!

Christina said...
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Christina said...
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undine said...

Cassandra, Douglass's growlery is great fantasy writer's house material--thanks! Does it have windows? I can see what you mean about the distractions of looking out on a garden, which would encourage thoughts of what I should be doing with the garden instead of what I should be doing with the writing.

Dame Eleanor--when I get back, I'm going to contact JM about the group.

Thanks, Ink! I was never sure if it was a dog thing or particular to that dog, but she worked on the principle that if she couldn't see the scary thing, it couldn't see her, which seemed like irrefutable logic to me.

Charlotte, thank you, and welcome to the blog! Maybe we can keep the semester away if we don't look at it.