Thursday, October 15, 2009

Such Stuff That Dreams are Made On

Thanks to a post on Elizabeth Bradley's blog, I have been reveling in Writers' Houses; a beautiful coffee table book full of wonderful photographs of the interiors and exteriors of twenty-one writers' homes around the world. I doubt I'll ever have an entire house to myself, but I did start dreaming about my perfect writing space.

Here's what I'd like: (with money being no object, of course)

A large room with at least one window and a door. My writing desk would be placed in front of the window, so I want to be looking out on something wonderful. The English countryside would do, as would a vineyard in Provence. I write on a laptop so I'm not in need of a desk with drawers. I do, however, like to spread out my stuff so that desk surface needs to be large.

Bookcases. Lots of bookcases. I write mysteries taking place somewhere in the decade of 1935-1945 in either England or one of the Channel Islands. This takes research. I have accumulated many books; some full of pictures (pictures make a larger impression on my memory than words), some are travel books written during the time period, some are biographies.

A large bulletin board. Ever since I was a teenager I have loved to put things up on walls. I put up pictures that make me happy, copies of quotations, leaves from places I've been, etc. I need my bulletin board.

My chaise lounge, a TV and DVD player. I know, it's a writing room. But I need to watch documentaries. Movies and television series in this era can be marvelous resources for fashion, music and social mores.

What would be in your ultimate writing space? Dream a little.


  1. Oh, what an *interesting* question! My dream writing space... hmm.....I definitely agree with you about a nice-sized desk and a window. I'm inspired by what I see, and it's nice to have changing scenery. I have to admit, I would want a state-of-the-art computer system. I often have several "windows" open as I write because I multitask, and I would want the very best of systems to accommodate the things I do online. I would also want floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on at least three of the walls. Like you, I do research, and I am often inspired, anyway, by other writers. I think most of us writers do that; we don't work in a vacuum. The ultimate in comfortable desk chairs would be important, too. Now that I'm not 20 anymore ; ), it would be heavenly to have the best of chairs to keep me comfortable as I worked... OK, time to stop dreaming - my budget would never accommodate all of this...

  2. That photo is lovely. I've been making plans for a writing room. I'm hoping next year's royalty cheques are going to be enough to build myself an office at the back of our house. I need windows, even my house is mostly windows. I need windows facing intersting things. I've always wrote with my window facing the bird bath and the bird feeder. So I might have to move the garden around a bit too. I need bookshelves. Those are my main concerns. And a good office chair.

  3. A hard, uncomfortable straight-back chair. Cinder block walls. Dank concrete floor. No windows. Hey, aren't writers supposed to suffer?

  4. Margot; Yes, yes, a comfortable chair!

    Lauri; Isn't it a gorgeous picture? It's looking out onto an English garden, so that gives it a thumbs-up for me.

    Alan; You forgot the scrabble of rodents' claws as they forage for scraps in the shadowy corners of the cell and the heavy weight of the leg iron forcing you to remain in your hard chair.

  5. Ahhh- I love this one! I actually posed the question to my students. Hmmmmm, let's see.....

    Room w/ a bay window (any window, really, that gives me something to stare at, and something w/ sunlight) is definitely ideal. I also need comfy couches and chairs. Desk, not so much, but something to put my laptop on, I suppose. The walls have to be a warm color (something in the caramel family). No white walls or paneling. A couple of carefully placed floor and table lamps, but no overhead lighting.

    Ditto for lots of bookcases. With books in them, of course. But also a wall of photos -- family photos, scenic photos of home, me and Andre Dubus III, framed book covers, etc.

    And a cat. A writing space w/ a cat would be ideal.

  6. I think you described it for me :)

  7. My dream writing room: A room with a wall of windows opening onto a deck that overlooks a beach. Two walls with bookshelves. I spread out, too, so a large surface area. Bright color on the fourth wall - nothing pink or neutral. Hard surface floor - no carpet. Comfy chair. That's it. Simple, yet way out of reach.

  8. That's a lovely vision. I'm not a big needer of idylic writing conditions. But I do often enjoy writing on my terrace overlooking the lake when the weather is nice.

    Marvin D Wilson

  9. I have a nice writing room, not as nice as the one I had in the previous house, but it'll do for now. I have always dreamed of writing in front of a window facing water, a river, lake, or better yet, the ocean. Sigh. Someday.

    I'm so glad you got the book, Writer's Houses. I have always been caught up in the romance of writer's lives. How they write, where they write, why they write. I collect trivia on writer's instead of movie stars. lol.

  10. You and I have similar tastes. I'm sort of close to my ideal. I have a desk facing a window. It's not Italy, but does look out at trees and I have lots of animals who wander by from deer to roadrunners to rabbits to squirrels. I need more bookshelves and more surface room, but we've put shelves up in the closet and I've added a folding table to get me more surface space. There's a couch in the room for when I need to nap...I mean think. And I now have a TV. Oh, and my DH built me an 8'X4' bulletin board. Now what I need is more hours in the day.

    Straight From Hel

  11. That picture is very close to my dream space, the big windows, but over looking a lake. And I want a white French Country desk and a big blue and white striped wing back chair in that bay. Oh and I want white flowy curtains. That's all.

  12. Great question!!

    My perfect room would have a couple of writing spaces. One big, wide, comfy chair with an ottoman. I like using my laptop with my feet up :) Plus I'm usually too short for my feet to touch the floor!

    I'd also like the wide desk and the high back chair. I don't always like to write in the same place.

    I'd have a wood-burning fireplace and the room would be filled with shelves and books.

    I love your bulletin board idea, so that would be in as well :)

  13. Elisa; Your room sounds lovely; and I agree about the cat. Maybe several cats. All purring.

    Carol; Looking out over a beach would be wonderful both in nice weather and for the storms!

    Carolyn; I'm glad!

    Marv; You overlook the lake? I'm so jealous!

    Elizabeth; It's interesting how many of us have a thing for looking out at water. I understand completely about the writer trivia, one of my most prized possession is a signed script. Not signed by a big movie star, signed by the writer.

    Helen; I'm jealous. Your room sounds lovely.

    Journaling Woman; We have very similar taste. I love French country. Thanks for dropping by!

    Karen; I understand about wanting to look out at the ocean. I've grown up on the west coast and I'd really miss not having it around. And yes, yes, yes to the tea!

    Jemi; I forgot to add the fireplace. Can I take yours?

  14. I think that if I got it all pretty then I'd forget how to write! I write in chaos. :)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  15. My writing space would most definitly be attached to my manor in the English countryside. It would be a small cottage with a loft where I could climb to get away from the world. The bottom floor would be a small sitting room, comfortable, for when I want to lounge and write. Upstairs would house my large desk where I could get into the reserach and craft of writing, edit and re-write to my heart's content!



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