At home, I have an office. It's my very own space. My files spill from the black metal drawers; cardboard boxes and stacks of paper litter the desk and floor; books cram the shelves. I feel fortunate to have a nook I can call my own--cinderblock walls, pockmarked drop ceiling, buckling linoleum floor and all.
Truly, I'm grateful. It's just that I never write in there. In fact, I never go in there if I can help it. I write on my laptop, in a chair in the middle of everything--in my living room.
My office has become a time-out place, a "get me out of here, NOW" zone. The tiny room seems more like a hall, a breezeway--if only there were a breeze--between the children's former playroom, now morphed into a saggy-couched entertainment center, and my husband's office.
His office? My husband's mother gave him an apt nickname: kudzu. Last night, when I was trying to squeeze past the flight attendant who was pushing the dinner cart down the economy aisle, I said to myself, this experience reminds me of something. What? Ah, yes. Trying to get around in my husband's office.
Every day some of kudzu's stuff migrates into my space.
Here, in a hotel in Doha, Qatar, I have a curvy wooden desk holding only the books and the one manilla file I brought with me. Nobody passes through. Nothing piles up. All I hear is the hum of the airconditioning. I could get a lot of writing done here.
But I could at home too. In a tiny corner of his house, Paul Silvia wrote How to Write A Lot. The book features a workplace photo--desk, lamp, laptop, trash can. Period. Kind of like my photo above. His modest setup proves, he tells us in no uncertain terms, that we don't need retreats or fancy office digs in order to write, that complaining about our space, or lack of it, is just another excuse for not writing.
In my dreams I'm writing at a clear-surfaced home office desk--the room clean and quiet. Right now, awake, nothing trumps a hotel.
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