I’m lucky enough to have a whole room dedicated to my writing. Just me and my computer and my green-eyed demon dog and my golden geckos in the upright fish tank on the left side of the desk and my work-in-progress collage propped above. I didn’t even have to clean up (too much) to take this shot. Just don’t – for the love of all you hold dear – open the Chinese cabinet on the right.
But my REAL writing retreat is profoundly messier and also way more luxurious. It’s the retreat in my head.
Sounds woo-woo, yes? (Wave to Brenda W. whose guided imagery during a hypnosis session helped me create this second workspace.) But with a blazing candle and some mythic traveling tunes from Azam Ali and Dead Can Dance, I open the door in my mind and find an empty space to brainstorm, or a boardroom with all my imagined characters at the round table, or a playroom with indelible colored markers and permission to write on the walls. Hey, it’s my space after all.
Sometimes it’s a prison or a padded room in a sanatorium. My head isn’t always a pretty place. But honestly, I find as a writer I’m best served by a comfy chair and a short chain anyway, and sometimes blank walls are very relaxing. Regardless of its décor, once I sink down into that second writing place, it seems as if the first one – the real one – was the illusion, flickering out like that untended candle.
If you haven’t yet found your ideal writing space or just a personal sanctuary, could you create one in your head? What music, scents and props would you need to make the doorway to that space?
“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo.”
~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977