I write in light. I should say, profuse light.
Sunlight dances through the windows of my home office, my favorite room, furnished shabby chic-ish for me, and “dog-ish” for my cattle dog, Baby Rae (“dog-ish” being a bed of colorful patchwork quilts). A large stained glass window, in blues, green and silver, is enhanced by the abundant light; it depicts a Classical Greek woman holding a crystal orb, and the title “Sphera Imagination” is inscribed over her blond head—perfect for my writer’s lair. Baby Rae is at my feet—and this glowing window, together with Baby Rae and quilts, and the computer=bliss.
So, sitting here in my almost completely blissed-out state, I’m thinking about the influence of surroundings, how they can take us places, blissful or otherwise. In many cases a sense of place is so powerful that it’s what brings a novel to life in a reader’s mind, too. “Place” can often be a story’s soul, literally shaping its characters’ choices. What would Gone With The Wind be without Tara? Or—
The Help without Jackson, MS?
Harry Potter-anything without Hogwarts?
War And Peace without Moscow?
The DaVinci Code without the Louvre?
The Pillars Of The Earth without Kingsbridge?
The Grapes Of Wrath without Oklahoma?
The Kite Runner without Afghanistan?
Reading Lolita In Tehran without, um—Tehran?
Wuthering Heights without the moors?
Rebecca without Manderley?
How does a writer fabricate a completely developed sense of place? For my novel, The Angry Woman Suite, I dug into history books, the better to depict historical Chadds Ford and West Chester, PA, real places. And then I imagined an almost Gothic mausoleum of a house– Grayson House–and after that I made up a whole town for The Angry Woman Suite, with East Chester, observing the town in my head first, before even making notes. It was after the entire novel was laid out, almost like a pattern on fabric, and carefully smoothed free of wrinkles, that I could see the extra material—the excess of the spaces that my characters inhabited—and the cutting began.
Here, though, no cutting required. My little office space is a glowing cocoon filled with almost all my favorite things, right down to the wet nose nuzzling my bare feet. Baby Rae and I are in an exceptional place; my perfect place for imagining. . . . And yours? Where is your exceptional place?
I don’t have an exceptional place. I think I should have one now.
I hope you do “build” a room of your own, Jeyna! We all need our own special place. When I was a kid, my exceptional place was the hidden side of our house, where no one could bother me . . . a place for dreaming. Thanks for coming by! Lee
My exceptional place is definitely not my apartment. It’s cluttered and dark and hard to keep the right temperature, although it’s also full of children’s toys that remind me there’s a wonderful reason for the mess.
The first place that comes to mind is a desert/ocean landscape that prompted me to start writing my last novel, which is years away from seeing editing love. It’s been a year since that dream, but I remember the stunning landscape well.
I love your description of your own room! I imagined I was sitting there, with my eyes closed, for a moment instead of sitting here.
Hello! I had a mind picture once, too.
Of a house. Huge house on the water. Even had its own nightclub (we all need one of those, right?). Thinking or dreaming of this house made me calm. Safe.
One day I came across a painting of a house remarkably like the house in my dream– this was years ago. I bought the painting and hung it in my office– and I haven’t had the dream since (which I sort of miss, but I’m assuming it’s gone because it served its purpose– plus I have the painting).
When writing my novel, and often feeling at a loss, I’d look up at that painting and almost always the incomplete thought I was working with, or the words I was missing, would pop into my brain. Hold onto your desert/ocean landscape mind picture. It’s in your brain for a reason. Thank you for stopping by!
Oh, I have so many exceptional places. Once a long time ago in therapy I was asked to relax and picture myself in a safe beautiful place. I pictured myself sunning myself at home, in a big blow up chair floating in my pool, eyes closed, diet coke in my hand. That is a happy place where I often go. But a different creative exceptional place is me, behind the wheel of my truck, my camera in the passenger seat, diet coke now replaced by a water bottle, and off for some exciting unknown adventure, photographing and driving (hopefully not at the same time.
I’m sure I could write a Pulitzer Prize winning novel with Baby Rae’s “wet nose nuzzling my bare feet”!! I love that pup and your writing space is exceptional!! (Very Lee 🙂
I dream of my perfect writing place daily…………a detached studio with a great view and lots of light. Flowers on a table and a big bulletin board for photos of my characters.
Anthony DeMello talks about a room where several monks meditate daily. The energy fills the space and remains long after the monks have retired for the night. And at times, light emits from the room.
Perhaps the same could be said of creative energy. Maybe it remains and when you return to that space over and over it becomes infused with words and thoughts and images.
Or maybe it’s just your brain telling you “writing time”. Buckle down and put some words on that page!! (Oh, that’s my brain, not yours.) XXX 000
I love love love what you wrote about the glowing light in the meditating monks’ room!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll be smiling about that all day!!!!!!!! xo, me
Hey, just had a thought . . . maybe we could get a duplex studio! 🙂
That could be fun!!!!
I cannot wait to read “The Angry Woman’s Suite”
Tu es une ecrivaine belle y précise avec beaucoup de paroles figurées sur l’endroit.
Um . . . is this good or bad? 🙂
What I great post. 🙂
Thank you– and thanks for coming by, too, Kate! Be chatting with you again soon. . . .
Why am I anonymous? I’ll never get the hang of this blog stuff 😦
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I like you — come back soon 🙂