I didn’t mean to leave the blog on such a downer note for so long. It’s just that I got very busy working on this long short story (almost done…so close now…) and life is a busy thing all by itself.
So here I am. And I’ll offer two things.
First, partially because I want to keep track of it…an hour-long lecture which is An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube. It’s seriously fascinating.
And it dovetails in some interesting ways with an ethnograph I read called “A Coming of Age In Second Life” which was also wonderful. But if I go on about the two of them, we’ll never get the bar closed and head home.
The second thing I want to discuss is my gypsy desk.
I’ve tried lots of writing stations. I had an office in the entryway closet which was small and quiet and also a sauna once you’d been in there for ten minutes. Then, I converted our second walk-in closet into a huge office, complete with a door laid flat for a desk. That’s been dismantled for some time (and frankly, while it was nice to go in there and be surrounded by books…I never wrote on the desk. It was a piece of mania. I wish I’d just kept it on the hinges and found new ways to put all the books in there. A little library).
Right now, I have a nice corner desk, a little cheap thing, sitting in the corner of the living room, near the kitchen. It has a big lamp next to it and it’s a good height for writing at. Mostly, though, I don’t use it. I’ll sit four feet away and write at the dining room table.
And then there’s my gypsy desk.
It’s a little wooden TV tray sort of thing, about three feet high. It folds out into a nice desk, maybe four feet wide and a foot-ish long. We have two of ’em, which we got for cheap at god-knows-where.
I have a small blue folding chair that I use. And I roam.
And I love it.
Sometimes, I set up next to the big sliding-glass door window, and I write in the sun. in decent weather, when the spiders and wasps aren’t lurking (hah, like that ever happens), I sit next to the wide open screen door and write in the breeze and sun. Pre-kids, I sometimes went out and wrote under a tree.
Yesterday, I set it up next to the crib, in the afternoon and wrote next to Nathan. I wrote pages and pages to the twin sounds of Nathan breathing and the mobile playing quiet jungle sounds.
Sometimes, when the house is dark, I turn the light on over the stove and set up next to it and write there.
What I like about it is, it isn’t a PLACE that I have to come to, to write. A confined desk is always The Writing Place, which means when I go there, I have to write. So I’m inclined not to go there. I can put my gypsy desk in the window when I’m restless and want to look outside. I sit there, gaze outside, then write.
It’s pretty wonderful. And so I thought I’d talk about it. And now I have.
After being so gloomy for a day or so, I got my act together. I put out The Word and gathered some friends to me, who are serving as a bit of a first audience, so I can send my stories to them, and they send back bits of feedback, as they wish. It’s lovely. The feedback is extremely useful (it’s been jotted down for the story’s next draft, and has caught things I never realized were unclear). Mostly, the use is that I have a small audience to which I want to give new stories regularly. That’s useful.
I went off Facebook, talked about it here, and then signed back in. I decided that being reclusive is not the solution to everything, although something in my brain makes it seem that way. I still think Zuckerberg is a pus-sucker, but hey, he runs a company, what else would he be? And…well, that’s it really. I just don’t want to retreat from people. I don’t think that does anyone any good, as a writer or a human.
And I’d love to say “and I also went through the large back catalog of stories I’ve lazily sent out a few times and not sold, and I’ve sent them all out again,” but that’s not true. Mostly, I look at them in dismay. Some will get re-written, many will just gather dust. I don’t think you only need to publish the pieces you’re proud of and think are good (that’d be a short list for any writer), but you should at least know if the story works by a set of standards, and those don’t. So off they go.
And off *I* go. I want to finish this long story. I need to finish it. I’m sick of writing about the hospital, and the dying, and the damaged.
(of course, it’s not like the next story is happy and life-affirming. I seem to have slipped very strongly into a horror bend. I don’t mind. And I have theories as to why.)
(actually, the next story might be sort of cheerful. But it depends on if I wrap my head around the bits of Vodou that I’d need to understand or not first. So who knows.)
(Stop talking and go write, Pete.)