My Favorite Place to Write and The Story Behind It

I have a small office at the back of our small house. It used to be my son’s bedroom, but he has since moved out. I thought it would be my writing haven, the place where all my creative juices would flow and I would produce magical stories with ease.

Not so much.

I found the atmosphere to be rather stifling and I had a tendency to nod off in the quiet isolation. We’ll blame that in part on my thyroid disease. To tell you the truth, I hate this writing space. Just doesn’t work. I find myself being much more productive sitting on the front porch. The birds and the traffic act as a sort of white noise for me. Problem is, I live in a part of the country that has long, very cold winters. Factor in the thyroid disease, and we’ll be pretty much into June before I can sit outside without a jacket. Makes for a short writing season. The good thing is that once I get the brainstorming and first draft down, I can do some editing and rewriting from the living room couch. So creatively speaking, I’m mostly a fair weather writer.

Interesting story about that front porch, totally unrelated to writing but interesting nonetheless. A few years ago, I was sitting in my office (I work at home as a medical transcriptionist. Maybe that’s why I hate to write in here.) and heard an argument going on outside. I got up to investigate and saw a man and woman in a physical altercation in my front yard. Interesting characters. Caricatures, really. Both looked like they had lived life the hard way. Lots of booze, drugs, and cigarettes. They were both small in stature and thin. The woman was wearing a pink satin jacket. I imagine they were a lot younger than they looked, and they looked at least 55. I see that a lot in this neighborhood. Eminem grew up in this neighborhood, if that helps.

Anyway, my dog was barking her fool head off. By this time, the fight had made its way up my front steps and onto the porch. There I was, phone in one hand dialing 911, the other hand trying to hold the screen door closed. The woman outside was trying to pull the door open, but if she succeeded she would have met with my chocolate lab’s substantial set of choppers. Absolute pandemonium. She had something the guy wanted and she was not going to give it up. Had to be either drugs or money. They both fell against the porch railing, bending it, and continued the fight as they went up the street. The woman left her purse behind. By that time, the police had arrived to take my statement. The couple was long gone. I gave the woman’s purse to the police.

The next day, the doorbell rang and my husband answered it. He came back to my office and said, “The ugliest woman I’ve ever seen is on the front porch and she’s looking for her purse.”

“Is she wearing a pink jacket?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

I got up and went to the door. Standing on the porch was indeed the ugliest woman I had ever seen; but it wasn’t a woman. It was the man from the fight the day before, and he was wearing her pink satin jacket. He asked for “my purse,” as if his disguise would fool me. I informed “her” that the police had it, and “she” left. We notified the police right away but never heard anything further about it.

Still gives me the creeps.

Anyway, back to the porch. I wasn’t too upset by the damage done to the porch railing during the fight. We had a contractor scheduled to come out the following week to tear down the old porch and put up a new one anyway. The old one was collapsing. They built a much bigger and better porch. It has become my favorite place to write and it comes with an interesting, albeit disturbing, story.

You have to find the setting that works for you. I think all writers start out thinking the perfect office is one with lots of books, a big desk, and a fireplace. As I wrote in an earlier post (How I Got My Writing Groove Back), a little chaos works better for me. Experiment. Find what works. It might not make sense to anyone else or have an interesting story behind it; but if it makes for great writing, revel in it.

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