Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Desk - For Better or Worse

By Tracy Kiely

When I first dreamed about being a writer, I think I imagined myself along the lines of what the character, Bridget Jones says:

I read in an article that Kathleen Tynan, late wife of the late Kenneth, had 'inner poise' and, when writing, was to be found immaculately dressed, sitting at a small table in the center of the room sipping at a glass of chilled white wine."

Much like my other plans (tap dancer, drummer, New Yorker cartoonist) this one too, did not pan out. Most days I slink into my desk chair much like I did in college when I overslept and was late to class. I’m dressed the same as then too – hair in a messy bun, random pair of shorts and ratty sweatshirt complete my ensemble. 

I wrote most of my first book on our computer – which I should point out was our only computer at the time – located on the desk off of our kitchen.

I should admit that I cleaned it up for picture day. I should. But I won't.

It made sense at the time, as my kids were little and my writing could only take place when they were either sleeping or (sorry, bad Mom alert) plopped in front of the TV watching Elmo or – god help me – Caillou.  (We all do things we are not proud of. I am not proud of letting my kids watch Caillou.)

Also, as previously noted, it was the only computer in the house.

After my first book was published, I decided I needed a “proper writing space.” I took over the downstairs’ study, which I should add, wasn’t really a coup. It’s a little space in the basement off the rec room. I repainted the walls and set up my grandmother’s roll top desk and chair. I covered the walls with some favorite prints and was ready to write.
Note the Diet Coke instead of the chilled white wine. Maybe that's why I can't write there.

And then?

Well, I never used it. There are no windows and more importantly, I have to use my laptop when I’m down there. I discovered the following:
  • I like windows.
  • I am use to one keyboard.
  • The chair looks great with the desk but renders my sciatica a screaming mess in less than ten minutes. 

So I use the upstairs. Problems? Yes.
  • The fridge (it calls to me when my Muse steps out)
  • The fridge (my Muse leaves a lot)
  • The dogs (it’s an hourly episode of Wild Kingdom)
Hi, Mom!
Moments later, I feel like Marlin Perkins watching the action from the safety of my tent.

  • The cat (I swear, he’s trying to kill me. Half the time he looks like Lauren Bacall in Murder on the Orient Express - you know the scene where she's peering around the door to watch the stabbings? Well, my cat stares at me from behind door jams in exactly the same manner. It's creepy as hell.)
    "I'm thinking of ways to kill you. Look away, damn you. Look away!"

But then summer came in all its glory. My kids were home. They no longer watch Sesame Street or - thank god - Caillou. But, now they watch shows I like. Harry Potter. Miss Fisher. Anything Hitchcock.

So, I’m back in the study. And God forgive me, but I really can’t wait for school to start.


Art Taylor said...

Love this, Tracy! Thanks for sharing not only a look at your space but also a glimpse at your writing routines (and distractions).

And I'm with you on Caillou. Dash really likes it, but we sort of shake our heads at the whole thing.....

TracyK said...

Caillou's parents are horrible. And why does every episode start off with something like "Caillou was in a bad mood" or "Caillou was unhappy" Caillou is ALWAYS in a snit about something. My "favorite" was when he threw a tantrum because his mom gave Rosie one of his old shirts that he couldn't wear anymore because it was for a BABY. Okay. I need to stop. My blood pressure just shot up 20 points. AND WHERE IS HIS HAIR??

Art Taylor said...

!!!! Exactly!

Alan Orloff said...

That is a scary-looking cat. I'm surprised you can get ANY writing done.

TracyK said...

His name is O'Malley, but I call him Mr. Sunshine. If I'm ever found dead from a thousand tiny cuts, you know who to look for.

RJ Harlick said...

I agree with Alan, I'm surprised you can get any writing done. Great post.

Susan C Shea said...

Funny! When cats stare at you, you know it even if your back is to them. It can be useful if you're writing thrillers or creepy psychological crime fiction.

Cathy Ace said...

Fabulous! Cathy :-)

Aimee Hix said...

HA! Dancing Groot. I knew we were separated at birth.