Monday, October 27, 2008

Room With A Lesser View

I am moving my office from the moderately large bedroom at the back of the house, with its window that overlooks the pond and rolling acreage, to a moderately cramped bedroom in the middle of the house with a window that overlooks the neighbor's basketball hoop and leaf-littered lawn.

The move is to appease my oldest daughter and has nothing to do with the view. In fact, I went to great pains not to enjoy the view from my previous office because it was way too easy a distraction. Let's see: look at apple trees and a pond and a bank of trees, or write. Hmmmmmmm. (I have included an image of the back yard here, for your viewing pleasure)

When we moved into our house we gave the children the pick of the bedrooms, starting with Fallon, the oldest. She chose the largest in the house: a palatial chunk of real estate, with five windows, a fireplace (capped, but still pretty cool) and a telephone hookup.

As it turns out, Fallon feels more like she's sleeping in a museum than a bedroom, what with the lack of furniture to dull the echo. She has a bed, a bureau, a slender bookshelf, a sewing table, and a hairbrush. This leaves an acre of floor in the middle of the room, give or take.

Gabrielle, an infant when we moved in, is now mobile in the worst of ways, which means she needs her own space. So we're doing the bedroom shuffle thusly:

  • We're moving into Fallon's bedroom
  • Fallon is moving into my old office
  • Ty, once with the tiniest bedroom in the house has moved to Alyssa's third floor roost (which also has a window looking out over the pond, just from a higher angle)
  • Alyssa has moved across the hall to Harrison's old room, the one on whose wall I painted the Green Monster and whose ceiling has a skylight
  • Harrison has moved to the first-floor bedroom off the kitchen once occupied by my sister, who has moved across the street into her boyfriend's house (now THAT's how you get a date: pick the fella across the street. It saves moving expenses)
  • Gabrielle has staked a claim on our old bedroom, but let's be real, she sleeps with us
  • I have moved my office into the tiniest of rooms.

I sit there now, after having moved two thirds of my possessions yesterday. Two thirds of my possessions is code for MY BOOKS. (the other third comprises clothes I don't wear, clothes I wear over and over, a pair of dress shoes, sandals, a toothbrush)

This tiny bedroom-turned-office has a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf seven tiers tall and perhaps 10 feet in width. And my books just about fill it.

My desk is in the corner opposite the bookshelf, kitty corner, so that as I type this I can detect, peripherally, my books but can also see the outline of trees through the window. Not a great distraction, but enough light to inspire, which is the best kind of window a writer should have.

The house, built in 1850 during John McCain's first run for the presidency, is slightly pitched toward the middle. Door casings slope toward center, as do the floors, the stairs, the windows. Anything made of wood, let's say. In fact, my second-oldest brother complains that he needs to be drunk in order to walk a straight line in my home.

This means my office - my NEW office - slopes too. So I sit here, kitty corner to the bookshelf and the window-without-a-view, and my office-chair-on-casters rolls toward the door.

Picture a Charlie Chaplin movie that takes place on a steamer ship. Poor Charlie is trying to eat soup at a table with the room continually pitching left and right, the soup bowl sliding away from him just as he dips his spoon, then slides back to him, teasingly.

That's me, except the house doesn't tip me back to my desk. I have to use my legs, Fred Flinstone style, to get back. It's a muscle-pulling kind of exercise. There's a metaphor in there somewhere, I know - something about outside forces pulling me away from writing - and I'd write it down if I could just GET BACK TO MY COMPUTER!

Anyway. I'm back. Breathless, as it were, from the exertion. But I'm enjoying my new office. I think I'll peruse my books, the ones I've neglected for two years and will now probably re-neglect, but hey, they look way cooler in their floor-to-ceiling bunks. It just LOOKS like a writer's bookshelf. Stephen Kingsian, let's say. I wish I had a pipe right now.

Or maybe I'll just take time out to enjoy the view of my neighbor's driveway.

1 comment:

  1. You could always install a seatbelt that harnesses you to your desk, although I suppose that might put a damper on the writing process.