Writers are a resourceful bunch. It’s fun to see how and where the magic happens. — Orly
Here’s what I wish my office had:
- A huge, overstuffed chair and a plush, colorful, but classic, rug.
- A whiteboard and corkboard for brainstorming.
- A giant, light-filled window looking out over green space.
- A whole wall or two of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with one of those ladders on wheels.
Or, maybe, let’s start smaller.
I wish my office had a door.
Smaller, still: I wish I had an office.
I’ve dreamed of writing in my own space ever since graduate school, where I lived with two other women and composed a large part of my first novel, Miracle Beach, sitting on my bed, propped up on pillows, headphones in, my Vizsla, Lewis, curled up next to me.
My second novel, Learning to Stay, was written on the couch in the tiny house I shared with my husband, in front of the fireplace in the winter or with the windows thrown open in the summer. Sometimes, on really hot days (we didn’t have A/C), I’d set up camp on the porch to try to catch a breeze.
Then kids came along – two of them – and escaping the house became imperative. I hired sitters and nannies for two or three-hour blocks and I’d escape to the nearest coffee shop. I learned to write on demand, and to wake up and get going in the morning without coffee because I’d have to order something to drink – sometimes several things – during my writing time.
Now, my kids are bigger (though at 4 and 6 years old, still pretty little), and my writing cave has become our kitchen table in the late night hours after they’re asleep, the park while they play, the bleachers at the pool for swim lessons or diving camp, the front seat of my car with my laptop propped on a rolled-up beach towel while I wait for them to get done with Dinosaur Camp, or as recently as last weekend, the bar at the ski hill while I wait out their lessons.
I carry my laptop with me everywhere, just in case. And I dream of that overstuffed chair, that sun-filled office. But I also know that it will come, someday, and when it does, it will be nice but a little sad, too, because it means that my time will be fully my own then. That my boys will no longer need me in the way they do now. And I know, even now, that I will miss the days of writing on bleachers, in my car – a rolled-up beach towel as a desk.
Erin Celello is the author of MIRACLE BEACH (Penguin/NAL 2011) and LEARNING TO STAY (Penguin/NAL 2013). She has an MFA in fiction from Northern Michigan University and is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband, two young children, and two unruly Vizslas.