This is my new office. I have used this room before, but the setup was very different, and the walls were ice white. I’ve moved my desk four times in the eight years we’ve lived in this house. The last space was very open, and after we did some insulating this past winter, I decided it was time to get a room with discrete walls again. This room has pocket doors, which I remain reluctant to close – I don’t really want to shut out life, especially family life, and commit myself to the page. Plus, as bright as this place is, the idea of closing the doors gives me a catacomby feel. I haven’t shut them yet; the kids were in school and now we will be traveling, but the ability to enclose myself makes me feel almost grown-up.
I read on the bed. Books, journals, edits. I write in notebooks on this bed, cheap spirals and composition books. I have a certain kind of cheap pen that flows thick and quick on the page. I think Papermate makes it, and I like blue the most. Sometimes I write stories right on the computer, but I have a very hard time keeping myself away from the Internet and email. When we come home in August, I am going to get out a typewriter – there is one in this house somewhere – and make myself type on that until I can force myself out of my twitchy anti-writing habits.
Another place I write is out loud. I tell stories on command. Not very often, because it is so threatening, but I do it sometimes, when my husband asks. The other night he asked when we were in bed and my first reaction was a big fat NO! And then I told him a story I kept forgetting to write down, about firewood and neighbors who intimidate.
Occasionally I write on stage with my husband. He is a dancer, and we improvise off each other, based on words the audience gives us. I came up with this exercise when I read about P.T. Barnum asking Mark Twain to write on stage. Twain refused, so I took up the offer, figuring I will never write the great American novel, but I can try my hand at something that Twain would not do. Writing aloud is a good (i.e. nauseating) challenge, and the stories I make onstage are seeds for more writing at home.
Amy Halloran lives and writes in upstate New York. Writing Spaces is a series dedicated to the desks, cafes, libraries and retreats where Fictionaut writers work, providing a window to the physical places where some of the stories on the site originated.