Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Room With A View - Susan Mallery

I have a writer friend who writes in an office on the top floor of her house. She has a view of most of the area where she lives, along with a lake. Storms whip by, rain hits the windows. It’s inspiring and beautiful.

I have this fantasy office in my mind…actually it’s two rooms. A place for a desk and tons of storage with piles and books and folders and manuscripts cluttering every surface. Then, beyond that, a calm oasis in pale green with windows and a view, light and a desk with nothing but my computer and notes on the chapter in progress. There’s a sofa on one wall, an ottoman, maybe a ceiling fan and nothing else. Just total, relaxing peace.

My reality is much more the cluttered space than the calm oasis, which makes me wonder if calm is a good idea. I’ve always crammed too much furniture, too many papers and books into too small a space and I’ve never had a view. My first office was also the guest room, with high windows that showed nothing but electrical wires and a slice of sky. While living in eastern Washington State, I had an office in a walkout basement. (I was from California—what did I know about basements?) Not only was the space always cold and dark, my window was level with the ground. Even the spiders lived above me.

I tend to find rooms with high windows or back windows. My current office is a loft with skylights. I see treetops. There is one “real window” and from that I see the neighbor’s backyard. My computer faces a corner, so when I’m working, there’s no view at all. Except I’ve realized I tend to close my eyes a lot when I’m writing so I can “see” what’s happening in my book. I turn to check on the dog every few minutes and she wags her tail at me, but other than that, there is only the screen and the words.

Maybe it’s better that way. I’m not distracted by a warm breeze or the pattern of rain. I can lose myself in my characters and the mess they’ve made in their lives. A view might take me away from that. But still…it’s nice to think about.



deseng said...

Hi Susan,

I love your oasis! My office is parked in the middle of our house. Not very inspiring! We hope to buy a farm house someday. When we do, I will make sure I find one with a second floor so I can have an office where I look out over the fields of corn waving in the breeze. My husband plans on planting a bunch of stuff and raising cows. Ha, ha!

Maureen said...

Your fantasy office sounds wonderful. Right now I just want to paint my office and clear some of the junk out. I think that will make it much more pleasant.

Kate Douglas said...

I am SO lucky...I work in a third floor office in the midst of a pine forest. I've got a large room with two computers (one a laptop that I use in a comfortable old oak rocker) a desk, a work table, a small bed (for those marathon all-nighters when I HAVE to catch a few minutes' sleep), bookshelves all around, lots of storage and a chair to read in. It's still full of clutter and I've learned one horrible thing...if I want to get any work done, I have to close the blinds. That gorgeous view is much too distracting!

Susan Mallery said...

I must confess I never thought of a view of corn, but it would be pretty...changing with the seasons. Love the pine trees. There are trees here, but not where I can see them.

I know the urge to paint and de-clutter. But I'm careful to thinking about something else until it passes! :)

Barbs said...

Susan I love your office but I'm sure I would DAYDREAM but of course I'm a reader not a writer so that's OK lol

Nathalie said...

Well I have a study that is on a third floor on-looking a park with beautiful trees and with a great bay window... I am lucky... I know!