The Writer’s Life, aka The View from the IceWorks Parking Lot

From Susan/Miranda:

Most writers have offices. Beautiful, luxurious offices, with a splendid view from the keyboard, an ergonomically comfy chair, and an antique desk, surrounded by custom bookcases. Or functional but private offices, tucked away in a corner of the basement or attic. Perhaps even a space rented in an office building, with a lawyer on one side and a dentist on the other. And consider the crème de la crème, the lovely paneled library of Sir Walter Scott that Susan/Sarah posted last week!

And what special place, pray, does my laptop like to call home? The Pepsi-spotted driver’s seat of my ’97 Camry station wagon.

My writing career and my daughter are both sixteen years old. In that time, I’ve been published as Miranda Jarrett, but like many other women writers, my other pseudonym has fewer syllables, but a lot more responsibilities: Mom. Along with the usual nurturing maternal skills like baking cookies, fixing broken zippers, and finding a place that sells poster board for a social studies project at 10:30 p.m. the night before it’s due, Mom is most often The Driver.

In addition to all the usual suburban kid stuff, my son and daughter both play ice hockey. (My daughter began as a competitive figure skater, seduced by the lure of gold medals and sparkly dresses, but when she grew too tall to maneuver triple-jumps, she, too, crossed over to the dark side of hockey.) Like most kid sports these days, ice hockey is a year-round activity, with practices, games, tournaments, try-outs, clinics, and camps, and like most good hockey moms, I’m the one who gets them to the ice rink. Hour after hour, season after season, year after year, I’m there. Which is why I’ve come to appreciate my car as my office, the one place where Mom and Miranda can peacefully morph into one hyper-productive super-being.

First of all, there are no distractions. Ice rinks are generally built in places where land is cheap and scenic vistas are rare. Sitting in a rink lot, I’ll never be distracted by anything more than a nearby U-Store-It or aluminum siding warehouse. Children are temporarily their coaches’ problems, not mine. Cell phone reception is usually lousy, so no one calls me, or I them. I can’t get sidetracked by compulsively checking one more research book. Best of all, there’s no internet in my car, no e-mail begging to be read or web sites to be checked. There’s only me, my keyboard, my characters, and my story.

Sometimes this change of location will unlock a tough plot problem. I know the common wisdom is to have one constant place for work, so your feeble mind can be trained to accept that when you’re in your designated workplace, you have to buckle down. But for me moving my laptop to different places keeps my writing fresh; it’s only when I’m stuck in one room for a long period of time (and without a cupholder, too) that I find myself abandoned by inspiration.

And sometimes, too, it’s not just the location that needs to change, but the process. A switch from the laptop to handwriting on a pad can be enough of a jolt that the words miraculously return to my story, just where I want them, the little devils.

In my parking lot office, deadlines are hard and fast. Hockey practices are always the same length of time, and I know exactly when my writing-time is going to end. I set myself a goal of finishing a certain scene, or writing so many words, and realizing that I only have ninety minutes to finish tricks me into being more productive.

When I’m stuck on a bit of dialogue, I like to try speaking it out loud. Somehow hearing the words makes it easier to fix what’s wrong. Talking to myself in the car is a bit weird, true, but with no one else to hear me, who’s to know?

And perhaps most useful of all, is the chance to do . . . nothing. Especially when a book is due and my editor’s sending me cheerfully expectant e-mails, it’s easy to push and push and push to get the end, no matter what it takes. Sometimes what it takes is simply to take a break. I can’t exactly stop to smell the flowers (not in a car perpetually blighted by eau du hockey-bag), but I can put the seat back and stare up at the clouds or the stars, and give myself full permission to think about absolutely nothing at all.

Ahh, the glories of home-ice advantage!

45 thoughts on “The Writer’s Life, aka The View from the IceWorks Parking Lot”

  1. Delightful essay. But you are on the wrong blog. The Jenny Crusie/Bob Mayer blog, He Wrote, She Wrote, has a whole gang of hockey moms.

    Reply
  2. Delightful essay. But you are on the wrong blog. The Jenny Crusie/Bob Mayer blog, He Wrote, She Wrote, has a whole gang of hockey moms.

    Reply
  3. Delightful essay. But you are on the wrong blog. The Jenny Crusie/Bob Mayer blog, He Wrote, She Wrote, has a whole gang of hockey moms.

    Reply
  4. What a wonderful essay. You are re-defining success! Who needs a leather chair, the mahogany desk, or the paneled walls when all that is needed to succeed can be found in one’s imagination?
    It was refreshing to be in that van with you — writing, thinking, succeeding – hockey sticks and all.
    My writing chamber is wherever I happen to be as well, although, as of late, it has been my 11 year old daughter’s abandoned tree house. Suspended between heaven and earth, I can think, dream, and connive. But not without Word Wenches like you — living proof that one can live and write at the same time. My inspiration when imagination is in short supply and the words just won’t come.
    — the littlest wenchling
    btw, I’m proud to report that pen and paper really can cut through a writer’s block. 🙂

    Reply
  5. What a wonderful essay. You are re-defining success! Who needs a leather chair, the mahogany desk, or the paneled walls when all that is needed to succeed can be found in one’s imagination?
    It was refreshing to be in that van with you — writing, thinking, succeeding – hockey sticks and all.
    My writing chamber is wherever I happen to be as well, although, as of late, it has been my 11 year old daughter’s abandoned tree house. Suspended between heaven and earth, I can think, dream, and connive. But not without Word Wenches like you — living proof that one can live and write at the same time. My inspiration when imagination is in short supply and the words just won’t come.
    — the littlest wenchling
    btw, I’m proud to report that pen and paper really can cut through a writer’s block. 🙂

    Reply
  6. What a wonderful essay. You are re-defining success! Who needs a leather chair, the mahogany desk, or the paneled walls when all that is needed to succeed can be found in one’s imagination?
    It was refreshing to be in that van with you — writing, thinking, succeeding – hockey sticks and all.
    My writing chamber is wherever I happen to be as well, although, as of late, it has been my 11 year old daughter’s abandoned tree house. Suspended between heaven and earth, I can think, dream, and connive. But not without Word Wenches like you — living proof that one can live and write at the same time. My inspiration when imagination is in short supply and the words just won’t come.
    — the littlest wenchling
    btw, I’m proud to report that pen and paper really can cut through a writer’s block. 🙂

    Reply
  7. from Susan Sarah:
    Brava, Susan Miranda!
    A most excellent and inspiring blog. Now I want to grab my laptop, jump into my Forester, and drive somewhere, anywhere, and park there until I get the next chapter finished. Hockey practice and the Camry have provided you with some secrets of consistent creativity–isolation, self-imposed discipline, and lack of distraction (not to mention, freedom from the Sireeeens of email!).
    And your writing proves it. You’re one of the most disciplined and finest writers I know. 🙂
    I’m glad you’re not hanging out on the other hockey-mom blog, we need your wisdom here! Cheers,
    the other Susan-Wench

    Reply
  8. from Susan Sarah:
    Brava, Susan Miranda!
    A most excellent and inspiring blog. Now I want to grab my laptop, jump into my Forester, and drive somewhere, anywhere, and park there until I get the next chapter finished. Hockey practice and the Camry have provided you with some secrets of consistent creativity–isolation, self-imposed discipline, and lack of distraction (not to mention, freedom from the Sireeeens of email!).
    And your writing proves it. You’re one of the most disciplined and finest writers I know. 🙂
    I’m glad you’re not hanging out on the other hockey-mom blog, we need your wisdom here! Cheers,
    the other Susan-Wench

    Reply
  9. from Susan Sarah:
    Brava, Susan Miranda!
    A most excellent and inspiring blog. Now I want to grab my laptop, jump into my Forester, and drive somewhere, anywhere, and park there until I get the next chapter finished. Hockey practice and the Camry have provided you with some secrets of consistent creativity–isolation, self-imposed discipline, and lack of distraction (not to mention, freedom from the Sireeeens of email!).
    And your writing proves it. You’re one of the most disciplined and finest writers I know. 🙂
    I’m glad you’re not hanging out on the other hockey-mom blog, we need your wisdom here! Cheers,
    the other Susan-Wench

    Reply
  10. I want a tree house!
    I love taking off for a weekend in the mountains to write. Something about pine air after a long drive jolts the stories right out of me. Or maybe it’s just that I love to plot behind the wheel (it’s right up there with the shower, but better cause I don’t have to get out when the water goes cold, LOL).
    I’m totally with Susan/Miranda on the changing formats thing, too. Sometimes taking a hard copy to the coffee shop is the best thing I can do to get a scene to gel.

    Reply
  11. I want a tree house!
    I love taking off for a weekend in the mountains to write. Something about pine air after a long drive jolts the stories right out of me. Or maybe it’s just that I love to plot behind the wheel (it’s right up there with the shower, but better cause I don’t have to get out when the water goes cold, LOL).
    I’m totally with Susan/Miranda on the changing formats thing, too. Sometimes taking a hard copy to the coffee shop is the best thing I can do to get a scene to gel.

    Reply
  12. I want a tree house!
    I love taking off for a weekend in the mountains to write. Something about pine air after a long drive jolts the stories right out of me. Or maybe it’s just that I love to plot behind the wheel (it’s right up there with the shower, but better cause I don’t have to get out when the water goes cold, LOL).
    I’m totally with Susan/Miranda on the changing formats thing, too. Sometimes taking a hard copy to the coffee shop is the best thing I can do to get a scene to gel.

    Reply
  13. Tonda, I’m with you! Mountain air, a wide stream fed by a wispy waterfall… I do my best writing in places like that. Banged out nearly 100 pages in 5 1/2 days of absolute solitude. And when I say absolute, that’s exactly what I mean. No phone. No TV. No radio. No email. No body. When I came back I was so emotionally withdrawn, it took me two days to fully come around. But it was the best writing experience I’ve ever had.
    P.S. You can come to my tree house if you want to. There are enough electrical outlets for two laptops. 🙂

    Reply
  14. Tonda, I’m with you! Mountain air, a wide stream fed by a wispy waterfall… I do my best writing in places like that. Banged out nearly 100 pages in 5 1/2 days of absolute solitude. And when I say absolute, that’s exactly what I mean. No phone. No TV. No radio. No email. No body. When I came back I was so emotionally withdrawn, it took me two days to fully come around. But it was the best writing experience I’ve ever had.
    P.S. You can come to my tree house if you want to. There are enough electrical outlets for two laptops. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Tonda, I’m with you! Mountain air, a wide stream fed by a wispy waterfall… I do my best writing in places like that. Banged out nearly 100 pages in 5 1/2 days of absolute solitude. And when I say absolute, that’s exactly what I mean. No phone. No TV. No radio. No email. No body. When I came back I was so emotionally withdrawn, it took me two days to fully come around. But it was the best writing experience I’ve ever had.
    P.S. You can come to my tree house if you want to. There are enough electrical outlets for two laptops. 🙂

    Reply
  16. Dear Susan/Miranda —
    How generous of you to share what you do and how you do it.
    I write on a small, dark-stained pine desk that my husband built in highschool woodshop… a long, long time ago.
    I moved it up to our den from the basement and placed it under a large sepia portrait of Edna Scott (my paternal great-grandmother) c 1900, and a large medallion sepia portrait of Lois and Kenneth Scott (my paternal grandfather and his sister) c 1910.
    I pushed all the funiture further into the center of the room, creating a *cozy* conversation area around the TV and fireplace. My children are lounging there right now. The entire back of the room is mine, for writing.
    My laptop sits on a narrow shelf and is supported underneath by two small round platic containers of binder clips. I keep a dictionary to my right and a small photograph of my grandmother–Marie Nicholson-Scott(who raised me)–to my left.
    Someday… someday, when I’m published, I’m going to beg the publisher to let me acknowledge these Scots who loved me, and my husband who built a desk for me before he even knew me.
    Very cool subject, Susan/Miranda.

    Reply
  17. Dear Susan/Miranda —
    How generous of you to share what you do and how you do it.
    I write on a small, dark-stained pine desk that my husband built in highschool woodshop… a long, long time ago.
    I moved it up to our den from the basement and placed it under a large sepia portrait of Edna Scott (my paternal great-grandmother) c 1900, and a large medallion sepia portrait of Lois and Kenneth Scott (my paternal grandfather and his sister) c 1910.
    I pushed all the funiture further into the center of the room, creating a *cozy* conversation area around the TV and fireplace. My children are lounging there right now. The entire back of the room is mine, for writing.
    My laptop sits on a narrow shelf and is supported underneath by two small round platic containers of binder clips. I keep a dictionary to my right and a small photograph of my grandmother–Marie Nicholson-Scott(who raised me)–to my left.
    Someday… someday, when I’m published, I’m going to beg the publisher to let me acknowledge these Scots who loved me, and my husband who built a desk for me before he even knew me.
    Very cool subject, Susan/Miranda.

    Reply
  18. Dear Susan/Miranda —
    How generous of you to share what you do and how you do it.
    I write on a small, dark-stained pine desk that my husband built in highschool woodshop… a long, long time ago.
    I moved it up to our den from the basement and placed it under a large sepia portrait of Edna Scott (my paternal great-grandmother) c 1900, and a large medallion sepia portrait of Lois and Kenneth Scott (my paternal grandfather and his sister) c 1910.
    I pushed all the funiture further into the center of the room, creating a *cozy* conversation area around the TV and fireplace. My children are lounging there right now. The entire back of the room is mine, for writing.
    My laptop sits on a narrow shelf and is supported underneath by two small round platic containers of binder clips. I keep a dictionary to my right and a small photograph of my grandmother–Marie Nicholson-Scott(who raised me)–to my left.
    Someday… someday, when I’m published, I’m going to beg the publisher to let me acknowledge these Scots who loved me, and my husband who built a desk for me before he even knew me.
    Very cool subject, Susan/Miranda.

    Reply
  19. Tal–
    Ahh, but hockey moms are everywhere, even in Florida and Texas these days. While we’re a smaller group than, say, soccer moms or baseball moms, we’re a wholllle lot more feisty.
    And I really like the dichotomy of discussing the Stanley Cup finals one minute, and 18th century literature the next. The spice of life, indeed.
    Jenny’s a good friend, and because of her days at Bowling Green (always a big college-hockey power), she knows her way around a game, too. The secret lives of the Cherries, I guess. 🙂

    Reply
  20. Tal–
    Ahh, but hockey moms are everywhere, even in Florida and Texas these days. While we’re a smaller group than, say, soccer moms or baseball moms, we’re a wholllle lot more feisty.
    And I really like the dichotomy of discussing the Stanley Cup finals one minute, and 18th century literature the next. The spice of life, indeed.
    Jenny’s a good friend, and because of her days at Bowling Green (always a big college-hockey power), she knows her way around a game, too. The secret lives of the Cherries, I guess. 🙂

    Reply
  21. Tal–
    Ahh, but hockey moms are everywhere, even in Florida and Texas these days. While we’re a smaller group than, say, soccer moms or baseball moms, we’re a wholllle lot more feisty.
    And I really like the dichotomy of discussing the Stanley Cup finals one minute, and 18th century literature the next. The spice of life, indeed.
    Jenny’s a good friend, and because of her days at Bowling Green (always a big college-hockey power), she knows her way around a game, too. The secret lives of the Cherries, I guess. 🙂

    Reply
  22. Nina & Tonda —
    The man who lives across the street from me just finished a gorgeous tree-house for his seven-year-old son. When I complimented him on it, he told me I could come hang out anytime I wanted. Still, I’m not sure he’d want me camped out there all day with my laptop! 🙂

    Reply
  23. Nina & Tonda —
    The man who lives across the street from me just finished a gorgeous tree-house for his seven-year-old son. When I complimented him on it, he told me I could come hang out anytime I wanted. Still, I’m not sure he’d want me camped out there all day with my laptop! 🙂

    Reply
  24. Nina & Tonda —
    The man who lives across the street from me just finished a gorgeous tree-house for his seven-year-old son. When I complimented him on it, he told me I could come hang out anytime I wanted. Still, I’m not sure he’d want me camped out there all day with my laptop! 🙂

    Reply
  25. An essay, she writes essays! Oh, the pang of it. and she does it from her car!!!! I really need to crawl under my cherry desk (a space maybe two feet wide at best) and hide my head in shame. I have a View (just recently imported). The bookshelves are currently missing and in the basement but that’s a minor point…
    My office is for editing and navel-gazing. Like SS, I can’t actually write in it. My kids may have flown the coop, but I learned to write with a Bic pen and a Walmart college-ruled spiral notebook while sitting in the front yard watching 3-year olds on Hot Wheels terrorize the neighborhood. I use liquid gel pens now, but the spiral notebook still goes with me to the patio or the courtyard where I can enjoy birdsong and actually scribble something. And in the winter, it’s a recliner in front of the fire.
    Offices, bah, humbug!

    Reply
  26. An essay, she writes essays! Oh, the pang of it. and she does it from her car!!!! I really need to crawl under my cherry desk (a space maybe two feet wide at best) and hide my head in shame. I have a View (just recently imported). The bookshelves are currently missing and in the basement but that’s a minor point…
    My office is for editing and navel-gazing. Like SS, I can’t actually write in it. My kids may have flown the coop, but I learned to write with a Bic pen and a Walmart college-ruled spiral notebook while sitting in the front yard watching 3-year olds on Hot Wheels terrorize the neighborhood. I use liquid gel pens now, but the spiral notebook still goes with me to the patio or the courtyard where I can enjoy birdsong and actually scribble something. And in the winter, it’s a recliner in front of the fire.
    Offices, bah, humbug!

    Reply
  27. An essay, she writes essays! Oh, the pang of it. and she does it from her car!!!! I really need to crawl under my cherry desk (a space maybe two feet wide at best) and hide my head in shame. I have a View (just recently imported). The bookshelves are currently missing and in the basement but that’s a minor point…
    My office is for editing and navel-gazing. Like SS, I can’t actually write in it. My kids may have flown the coop, but I learned to write with a Bic pen and a Walmart college-ruled spiral notebook while sitting in the front yard watching 3-year olds on Hot Wheels terrorize the neighborhood. I use liquid gel pens now, but the spiral notebook still goes with me to the patio or the courtyard where I can enjoy birdsong and actually scribble something. And in the winter, it’s a recliner in front of the fire.
    Offices, bah, humbug!

    Reply
  28. This post made me realize I haven’t been to the ice rink since 2003! I’d learned to skate as an adult and was taking beginner figure skating lessons, but then I got pregnant, and since then I just haven’t got around to going back. I’ll have to dig out my skates and see if they still fit. There’s nothing in the world like stepping onto a sheet of freshly made ice and starting to fly…but I digress.
    In the 18 months I was a stay-at-home-mom, I became extremely particular about how I wrote. I wrote at the same time every day–during my daughter’s two-hour afternoon nap. I did my rough drafts in longhand, in sturdy spiral-bound notebooks, while lying stretched out on my stomach on the couch.
    I got so set in my ways that I still haven’t established a good rhythm since starting work last November. That afternoon writing time, so perfectly suited to my peak alertness patterns, is no longer there for me. Writing longhand and taking over the couch isn’t such a good thing anymore, because it drives my husband out of the living room. I can’t write with someone trying to talk to me or watching TV in the room, after all!
    I’m still experimenting. I’m making myself draft at the keyboard again, except for really intense scenes (all sex scenes included) where I find that the flow of pen over paper frees my imagination and turns off the internal editor somehow. Yesterday I even tried using some downtime at work and emailed myself the result to paste into my manuscript when I got home. To my great surprise, it turned out pretty well.

    Reply
  29. This post made me realize I haven’t been to the ice rink since 2003! I’d learned to skate as an adult and was taking beginner figure skating lessons, but then I got pregnant, and since then I just haven’t got around to going back. I’ll have to dig out my skates and see if they still fit. There’s nothing in the world like stepping onto a sheet of freshly made ice and starting to fly…but I digress.
    In the 18 months I was a stay-at-home-mom, I became extremely particular about how I wrote. I wrote at the same time every day–during my daughter’s two-hour afternoon nap. I did my rough drafts in longhand, in sturdy spiral-bound notebooks, while lying stretched out on my stomach on the couch.
    I got so set in my ways that I still haven’t established a good rhythm since starting work last November. That afternoon writing time, so perfectly suited to my peak alertness patterns, is no longer there for me. Writing longhand and taking over the couch isn’t such a good thing anymore, because it drives my husband out of the living room. I can’t write with someone trying to talk to me or watching TV in the room, after all!
    I’m still experimenting. I’m making myself draft at the keyboard again, except for really intense scenes (all sex scenes included) where I find that the flow of pen over paper frees my imagination and turns off the internal editor somehow. Yesterday I even tried using some downtime at work and emailed myself the result to paste into my manuscript when I got home. To my great surprise, it turned out pretty well.

    Reply
  30. This post made me realize I haven’t been to the ice rink since 2003! I’d learned to skate as an adult and was taking beginner figure skating lessons, but then I got pregnant, and since then I just haven’t got around to going back. I’ll have to dig out my skates and see if they still fit. There’s nothing in the world like stepping onto a sheet of freshly made ice and starting to fly…but I digress.
    In the 18 months I was a stay-at-home-mom, I became extremely particular about how I wrote. I wrote at the same time every day–during my daughter’s two-hour afternoon nap. I did my rough drafts in longhand, in sturdy spiral-bound notebooks, while lying stretched out on my stomach on the couch.
    I got so set in my ways that I still haven’t established a good rhythm since starting work last November. That afternoon writing time, so perfectly suited to my peak alertness patterns, is no longer there for me. Writing longhand and taking over the couch isn’t such a good thing anymore, because it drives my husband out of the living room. I can’t write with someone trying to talk to me or watching TV in the room, after all!
    I’m still experimenting. I’m making myself draft at the keyboard again, except for really intense scenes (all sex scenes included) where I find that the flow of pen over paper frees my imagination and turns off the internal editor somehow. Yesterday I even tried using some downtime at work and emailed myself the result to paste into my manuscript when I got home. To my great surprise, it turned out pretty well.

    Reply
  31. Susan Miranda, you definitely bring new energy to the Road Warrior concept! I can see how sitting in a car in a really boring place with nothing interesting to do could stimulate creativity. Especially is you don’t allow yourself to bring a good book to read.
    Now I’m going to see I can insert a working link in a comment from AOl: http://catsinsinks.com/
    Hmm, not hot link, though one could cut and paste it. This is a wonderful site lot of pictures of cats in–well, sinks. One of my cats, Lacey, is fond of curling up in the powder room sink, so the subject interests me. So far, no guest has complained about the furry sink….
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  32. Susan Miranda, you definitely bring new energy to the Road Warrior concept! I can see how sitting in a car in a really boring place with nothing interesting to do could stimulate creativity. Especially is you don’t allow yourself to bring a good book to read.
    Now I’m going to see I can insert a working link in a comment from AOl: http://catsinsinks.com/
    Hmm, not hot link, though one could cut and paste it. This is a wonderful site lot of pictures of cats in–well, sinks. One of my cats, Lacey, is fond of curling up in the powder room sink, so the subject interests me. So far, no guest has complained about the furry sink….
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  33. Susan Miranda, you definitely bring new energy to the Road Warrior concept! I can see how sitting in a car in a really boring place with nothing interesting to do could stimulate creativity. Especially is you don’t allow yourself to bring a good book to read.
    Now I’m going to see I can insert a working link in a comment from AOl: http://catsinsinks.com/
    Hmm, not hot link, though one could cut and paste it. This is a wonderful site lot of pictures of cats in–well, sinks. One of my cats, Lacey, is fond of curling up in the powder room sink, so the subject interests me. So far, no guest has complained about the furry sink….
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  34. Cathy & Susan–
    It’s interesting to see how writers make their space their own, no matter what that space may be. Must be our nesting instincts at work — that, and looking for whatever will inspire us!
    Pat–
    Oh, you’re just the same as I am with your spiral notebooks! As for your View, etc., the key there is that your kids are grown. That’s the secret there. Once mine, too, have flown the coop, I plan to reclaim one of their bedrooms. Besides, if I still go sit in rink parking lots when I don’t have a player inside, I’m afraid they’ll call security on me.
    Mary Jo–
    Cats in sinks, writers in trees, cars, and gardens: makes perfect sense.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  35. Cathy & Susan–
    It’s interesting to see how writers make their space their own, no matter what that space may be. Must be our nesting instincts at work — that, and looking for whatever will inspire us!
    Pat–
    Oh, you’re just the same as I am with your spiral notebooks! As for your View, etc., the key there is that your kids are grown. That’s the secret there. Once mine, too, have flown the coop, I plan to reclaim one of their bedrooms. Besides, if I still go sit in rink parking lots when I don’t have a player inside, I’m afraid they’ll call security on me.
    Mary Jo–
    Cats in sinks, writers in trees, cars, and gardens: makes perfect sense.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  36. Cathy & Susan–
    It’s interesting to see how writers make their space their own, no matter what that space may be. Must be our nesting instincts at work — that, and looking for whatever will inspire us!
    Pat–
    Oh, you’re just the same as I am with your spiral notebooks! As for your View, etc., the key there is that your kids are grown. That’s the secret there. Once mine, too, have flown the coop, I plan to reclaim one of their bedrooms. Besides, if I still go sit in rink parking lots when I don’t have a player inside, I’m afraid they’ll call security on me.
    Mary Jo–
    Cats in sinks, writers in trees, cars, and gardens: makes perfect sense.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  37. One more word for nomadic writers–(and I swear this is a recommendation without any compensation!)
    If you don’t want to haul your expensive laptop off into the wilderness with you, or you usually write on a desktop and don’t want to make the investment in a laptop, I wholeheartedly reccommend Alphasmart word processors. These were originally developed for elementary schools, and so are incredibly sturdy, easy to use (software’s ready to go), and economical (they cost about $250, and run all day on flashlight batteries.) Type away anywhere you please, then come home and plug it into your regular computer to transfer what you’ve written. And they’re compatible to both Macs and PCs.
    It’s no-frills processing, true, but you can toss one into a backpack or under the seat of your car without worry. I know both Mary Jo and Susan/Sarah have them, too, and we’re all happy typing campers.
    The Alphasmart website is:
    http://www.alphasmart.com
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  38. One more word for nomadic writers–(and I swear this is a recommendation without any compensation!)
    If you don’t want to haul your expensive laptop off into the wilderness with you, or you usually write on a desktop and don’t want to make the investment in a laptop, I wholeheartedly reccommend Alphasmart word processors. These were originally developed for elementary schools, and so are incredibly sturdy, easy to use (software’s ready to go), and economical (they cost about $250, and run all day on flashlight batteries.) Type away anywhere you please, then come home and plug it into your regular computer to transfer what you’ve written. And they’re compatible to both Macs and PCs.
    It’s no-frills processing, true, but you can toss one into a backpack or under the seat of your car without worry. I know both Mary Jo and Susan/Sarah have them, too, and we’re all happy typing campers.
    The Alphasmart website is:
    http://www.alphasmart.com
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  39. One more word for nomadic writers–(and I swear this is a recommendation without any compensation!)
    If you don’t want to haul your expensive laptop off into the wilderness with you, or you usually write on a desktop and don’t want to make the investment in a laptop, I wholeheartedly reccommend Alphasmart word processors. These were originally developed for elementary schools, and so are incredibly sturdy, easy to use (software’s ready to go), and economical (they cost about $250, and run all day on flashlight batteries.) Type away anywhere you please, then come home and plug it into your regular computer to transfer what you’ve written. And they’re compatible to both Macs and PCs.
    It’s no-frills processing, true, but you can toss one into a backpack or under the seat of your car without worry. I know both Mary Jo and Susan/Sarah have them, too, and we’re all happy typing campers.
    The Alphasmart website is:
    http://www.alphasmart.com
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  40. Susan, there is a GREAT book by Ursula K. Le Guin—DANCING AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, a collection of poems and essays about literature, feminism, travel, and assorted other subjects. She has a lot to say about women writers, especially of genre fiction, writing at the kitchen table in the interstices of Real Life as wife and mother.
    Mary Jo, I used to keep my bathroom door closed to keep the cats out, but it’s too hot (currently 108 here) and the room faces west and is poorly ventilated, so I have to leave the door open or it’s 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the house. But Sethra the Fluffy Bimbo and Aliera the Beeping Alien aren’t much for sinks–they prefer to sit on the mat (it’s traditional, I believe) and watch me on the loo. I think this is very unfair; I don’t go into their office and watch them in the litterbox, do I?
    I’m cleaning up hairballs on practically a daily basis, as Sethra is shedding madly and her sister loves to wash her. They do this combat-washing thing, where one cat holds the other down and they wash each other simultaneously, till it evolves into a boxing match.
    On my bed.
    At 4 a.m.

    Reply
  41. Susan, there is a GREAT book by Ursula K. Le Guin—DANCING AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, a collection of poems and essays about literature, feminism, travel, and assorted other subjects. She has a lot to say about women writers, especially of genre fiction, writing at the kitchen table in the interstices of Real Life as wife and mother.
    Mary Jo, I used to keep my bathroom door closed to keep the cats out, but it’s too hot (currently 108 here) and the room faces west and is poorly ventilated, so I have to leave the door open or it’s 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the house. But Sethra the Fluffy Bimbo and Aliera the Beeping Alien aren’t much for sinks–they prefer to sit on the mat (it’s traditional, I believe) and watch me on the loo. I think this is very unfair; I don’t go into their office and watch them in the litterbox, do I?
    I’m cleaning up hairballs on practically a daily basis, as Sethra is shedding madly and her sister loves to wash her. They do this combat-washing thing, where one cat holds the other down and they wash each other simultaneously, till it evolves into a boxing match.
    On my bed.
    At 4 a.m.

    Reply
  42. Susan, there is a GREAT book by Ursula K. Le Guin—DANCING AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, a collection of poems and essays about literature, feminism, travel, and assorted other subjects. She has a lot to say about women writers, especially of genre fiction, writing at the kitchen table in the interstices of Real Life as wife and mother.
    Mary Jo, I used to keep my bathroom door closed to keep the cats out, but it’s too hot (currently 108 here) and the room faces west and is poorly ventilated, so I have to leave the door open or it’s 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the house. But Sethra the Fluffy Bimbo and Aliera the Beeping Alien aren’t much for sinks–they prefer to sit on the mat (it’s traditional, I believe) and watch me on the loo. I think this is very unfair; I don’t go into their office and watch them in the litterbox, do I?
    I’m cleaning up hairballs on practically a daily basis, as Sethra is shedding madly and her sister loves to wash her. They do this combat-washing thing, where one cat holds the other down and they wash each other simultaneously, till it evolves into a boxing match.
    On my bed.
    At 4 a.m.

    Reply
  43. From Loretta, chiming in late:
    A wonderful post, Susan/Miranda. I totally understand the preference for isolation, though my place isn’t the car, since I’m not obliged to transport younger persons anywhere. But I’ve found, over the years, that writing in an attractive location (like the beach, or the country) is impossible. I’m too easily distracted by sights and sounds. So I work in my office, and keep the shades drawn. Otherwise I’ll watch the chickadees and listen to the mockingbird or, in winter, contemplate the whiteness of the snow. It used to be easier to focus.

    Reply
  44. From Loretta, chiming in late:
    A wonderful post, Susan/Miranda. I totally understand the preference for isolation, though my place isn’t the car, since I’m not obliged to transport younger persons anywhere. But I’ve found, over the years, that writing in an attractive location (like the beach, or the country) is impossible. I’m too easily distracted by sights and sounds. So I work in my office, and keep the shades drawn. Otherwise I’ll watch the chickadees and listen to the mockingbird or, in winter, contemplate the whiteness of the snow. It used to be easier to focus.

    Reply
  45. From Loretta, chiming in late:
    A wonderful post, Susan/Miranda. I totally understand the preference for isolation, though my place isn’t the car, since I’m not obliged to transport younger persons anywhere. But I’ve found, over the years, that writing in an attractive location (like the beach, or the country) is impossible. I’m too easily distracted by sights and sounds. So I work in my office, and keep the shades drawn. Otherwise I’ll watch the chickadees and listen to the mockingbird or, in winter, contemplate the whiteness of the snow. It used to be easier to focus.

    Reply

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