What do you need around you to create? My husband is building a space for wood working (which involves the purchase of expensive toys…I mean tools). A writing group recently talked about their favorite tools – pens, pencils, paper, etc. It seems we all need the right place, no matter what we create.
Like most people, I can write anywhere, but there is one spot that is my favorite. So here’s the story of my space. First the photo:
I like a corner. The feeling of being enclosed in the story world (I also love MRI machines for the same reason).
I like history, a connection to family and past, which is always a theme in my writing. Here you’ll see Gawain and his horse, a print from the 1920s that I used to sit in front of as a child and make up adventures. There’s a clipper ship, a print from the 1940s that I used to daydream in front of when very little. I must have been an odd little kid, now that I think about it; sitting on the floor in my grandmother’s house, or the home of the elderly couple that gave me the knight print, doing nothing but staring at the wall. The desk itself is an antique.
There’s a small print, also from my grandmother, that is Lake Chelan, before the dam was built, when it was still wild and free.
There’s more history. Dog tags from my father, my husband, and a cast iron beaver on a ribbon from my husband’s grandfather. A Victorian pin cushion from my grandmother. A wrought-iron candle holder found in an abandoned homestead in Montana. A lamp from my mother. A crocheted doily from my grandmother. And a modern-day flashlight for when the power goes out.
I also need mountains around me. What you can’t see in the photo are the real mountains outside.
Then I need the mountains closer. So, back on the desk are photos from friends who also love the mountains. Fireweed growing in a high meadow. The moon coming up behind peaks. A photo of my husband and his dog on a high ledge of granite.
The green journal is my book of growing things. Or, honestly, my failures at gardening. It’s all scribbled in here so maybe next year will be better. Oh, and there’s a Waterman pen from my husband, chubby notepads which I love to scribble things in, and a black notebook that has the business end of writing inside.
And finally, a card given to me when my dad died, to remind me to pay attention to life. The card reads, ‘Is it so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun, lived light in the spring, to have loved, to have thought, to have done?’
It’s not so much that these things inspire me to write. After all, they’re just things, and I can write anywhere. No, what this space does is bring me home. Tie me to past, present, and future. Ground me into daydreams, if that makes sense.
I’d love to hear from you what your space is like. Whether it’s a space to create, or simply a space that feels safe, feels like home, or relaxes you after a long day.
And speaking of those long days, let’s not forget one of the more important things on that desk. The coaster for the big mug of hot tea.