Today's Wonder of the World is...the Studio!
Photo by Home Companion, February/March 2003
It may be all sunshine and roses where you are, but in my part of South Carolina we're still soggy and shivering from our dreary weekend. It was perfect weather for snuggling up with a copy of Mary Englebreit's Home Companion, if the rotten economy hadn't killed the magazine.
(Boo hiss bad economy! Take away my go-to source for creative living? Curses on you!)
The February/March issue was always a favorite because it featured a tour of artists' studios. Emma Bridgewater and Matthew Rice, of Bridgewater Pottery are shown in the photo above. Wouldn't you love to work in a place like that? I get energized just looking at their workspace.
Of course I'd enjoy my writing work even if I had to sit by the toilet on my bathroom floor (okay, maybe not--I do have messy boys, remember?) but I have found that my work goes better when my workspace is inspiring. Notice I didn't say clean--I can work fine with coffee rings and wadded up paper on the table, even dirty dishes from lunch if I'm writing up a storm. But if you were to put out my ironing board, for example, my creativity would shrivel up in seconds, squeaking out, "I'm melting, I'm melting."
So I thought I might share some pics of my office with you, and maybe if you're feeling generous, you might share what you have in your space that sparks your imagination.
I work in what should be the dining room of my house. We lined it with bookshelves and made it into an office. (Who needs a fancy place to eat Spaghettios anyway? Just kidding Mom. No need to send vitamins.)
Here it is.
You can see the one problem I have, (not to call my husband a problem.)
The space isn't just mine. Everyone in my family uses it. Occasionally I have to pull a child out of my chair by the ear or stand behind my husband and sigh loudly, but that's okay.
I keep some of my favorite things out to inspire me. That old planter is full of letters from readers and friends, and I keep my index cards and other supplies in tarnished old sugar bowls and tea pitchers that make me happy.
I've also kept the first picture my editor sent me of the cover of French By Heart. The artist Betsy Everitt designed it, and it still makes my heart go pitapat. (Remember the mystery picture above it? I like that too.)
You know what else I love? My silly print of vegetable people.
Here. Look up close.
I got that for a few cents at a flea market in Paris. It's just an ordinary advertisement for Bon Marche.
See, here's the back.
I keep it in my office because it reminds me of exactly what memoir writing is supposed to do: tease the extraordinary out of the ordinary.
Oh, and Baby Jesus hangs out in my office too, watching over me.
I know he's supposed to be part of a nativity set, but he was too pretty to put away.
Baby Jesus also watches over this series of old French postcards Todd gave me for my birthday. It shows a couple disrobing at a restaurant.
Well, now that I look at it again, only the woman is disrobing. The man is just enjoying the view.
Don't have a heart attack, people. It's not as racy as it sounds, but it is fun. Click on it and take a look for yourself.
Here's more useless but pretty junque.
Now, on to the useful things...
That box holds little bits and pieces I need for my writing...photos, newspaper articles, notes written on index cards--things that jog my memory for my work in progress. I also love composition books. I've tried making notes on looseleaf paper, but I was always losing them or forgetting where I put them. Bound notebooks work better for me.
Here's another tool I use sometimes to organize my thoughts.
Shutters and index cards on clothespins.
The clothespins fit great into the shutter, and I can move notes around as I like.
Right now I'm using this accordion thing I taped together.
Each notecard is a one sentence chapter summary. It helps me keep an eye on how my chapters flow into each other and tracks the movement of the story.
I used to do the same thing on pieces of notebook paper taped together,
But the accordion of index cards folds up nicely and travels well in my laptop bag. That roll of paper kept getting smushed and torn.
So that's my office and some of the weird things in it. What about you? Do you love your workspace or hate it? What gets your creative juices flowing? I'd love to hear about it.
Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all.
Before you go, enjoy this awesome studio/loft tour of Philadelphia artists, Shauna and Stephen.
PS. Almost forgot. Tanner the Slobber Dog hangs out here too. How could I forget him?