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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, May 15, 2006

Being Alone

I've been hearing a lot of talk lately about being alone, how much we enjoy it or would if we could. JoAnn Ross posted on the PASIC blog today ( ) about a room of your own. What your dream office would be if you could have what you wanted. This got me to thinking... (Yes, dangerous for a writer)

What is it about women that makes us feel guilty for wanting time alone? That makes it nearly impossible for us to shut ourselves away for hours at a time without feeling as though we're cheating someone else of our time and attention? I'd be willing to bet male writers don't feel this guilt. I think mothers suffer from this the most. We've been conditioned to think our presence is supremely important to our offsprings' mental health, and I'm sure that's true to some extent, but even when those offspring are gone, the guilt hangs on. We just transfer it to our spouses.

But every writer needs a retreat. A place where our imagination can take flight. A place where we won't be interrupted by questions, by people walking through the room on their way to the refrigerator or the bathroom. So, if you could have the perfect office, the room of your dreams and the cost didn't matter, what would it be? (And for readers, what would your perfect getaway room look like?)

My office would be at least 20 x 20, with light oak floors, rose colored walls, bright white crown moulding at the ceilings and floors. Windows would cover three sides from top to chair rail height, and the view beyond those windows would be a lush green lawn dotted with trees and rose bushes leading down to a vast lake with sailboats and speed boats trailing wakes behind them. I would have a deck that I'd reach through French doors (on one side of the office so as not to spoil the lake view) with a lounge chair and a patio table or picnic table so I'd have a place to write outside in nice weather.

Back inside the office, I'd have green plants filling the corners--except for one, which would contain a pretty running fountain. The one solid wall would hold a comfy couch for reading or napping, with pretty water scene pictures above it. Along the other walls, under the windows, I'd have pretty light oak cabinets to hide all my paper clutter, my magazines, etc. One wall would have open shelves instead of cabinets so I could display my books and those of friends.

My desk would be U-shaped so I'd have a surface for the computer, and one for the printer/peripherals, and one for doing hand-work like paying bills and searching through research materials. My chair would be uber-comfy with deep cushions, preferably leather, and ergonomically correct. There would be enough open space under the desk for both dogs to sleep without fighting for a position.

And there would be a lock on the door.

Anyone else have a dream office?


At 9:59 AM, Blogger Stephanie Feagan said...

Whoo damn, I can't top yours, so I'll just say "I want one like that!" Looking out at water would be particularly lovely, since I live in the desert. As it stands, I'd have to turn on the sprinklers to see any water. :)

Great post, by the way.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Laura Hamby said...

When you're done building yours, will you come build it's twin on my house?

Waving Hello.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

I don't know, Laura. How much are you willing to pay? :)

Stef, I'd shrivel up and die in the desert I think. Tony had to dig a pond in our backyard just so I'd have water to look at--but it's still not the same. I want lakefront! :)

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

You dream office sounds great. I'd like many of those same elements, except I'd want a full wall of windows overlooking the Gulf of Mexico somewhere in Florida where it never gets cold. :) And I'd like the office to be shades of white and blues with framed posters of my favorite movies and hopefully, someday, framed covers of my books lining one wall. One wall would be nothing but built-in bookshelves for my--ahem--rather extensive collection.

At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Valerie Parv said...

Your dream office sounds...well...dreamy. I don't need a view because I'm so inwardly focused when I'm writing, but the peace and tranquility is essential. But I so hear you on the guilt thing when we take the time away from family to write. Even if, as if my case, we live off my writing, the guilt hangs around. What we really need in our dream offices are clones of ourselves. The writing us, and the Stepford wife us, to ease the guilt. Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Meg Allison said...

I like your dream office!

I think I'd want a room with a high ceiling, lots of light and windows. Nice soothing colors -- maybe yellows and greens. A big desk where the computer could sit at just the right height and a comfy computer chair to support my back.

Other than that: A small fridge filled with Diet Vanilla Pepsi; dark chocolate; baked chips and a CD player with my favorite instrumentals. :)

Oh, yeah, and the lock on the door. ;)

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Colleen Gleason said...

I'm lucky in that my office is pretty cool as it is...with one exception.

It has big windows looking out onto treetops, one whole wall of bookshelves (built by my dh the very first year we moved in) (and the shelves are packed full), a great large desk plus another glass-topped credenza, a comfortable rocky chair, and smooth hardwood floors.

The only problem: it's a loft, so there's no door.

We're working on that--maybe will be doing some renovations in the near future, now that I can justify spending money on my writing space.

But I like Allison's idea of a small fridge! I'll definitely put that in the plans for future. Having the stuff right there would be perfect!

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Josh Lockwood said...

I wouldn't need a lot in a dream office ... a desk and a computer big enough for my muse to sulk against when I'm not listening to her. Which is a whole lot lately.

You're mistaken about male writers not feeling the guilt thing, though. This one does, anyway. I call it 'basic jealousy' ... not the kind you'd feel if your mate was fooling around, but jealous that he or she wasn't spending that time with you.
I get it from my wife on a regular basis.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

Trish, an oceanview would be wonderful too.

Valerie, if you figure out how to clone yourself, let me know. I need a clone to go work a real job so I can just write!

Colleen, congrats on having a nearly perfect office! Get the hubby busy putting those walls up to close off that loft--and buy a lock for the door. :)

Josh, I think male writers are different than the average male bear. My husband doesn't feel a bit guilty when he closes himself in his office for hours at a time. Good for you! Shows you have feelings, something all writers need a lot of.

Cool. Any more perfect office dreams out there?

At 5:45 PM, Blogger bridget said...

I had an office and I got rid of it as soon as I got "converted" to the laptop. Now my "office" is either twelve inches across or as big as the great outdoors, however you choose to look at it!

But I confess to a little fantasy about being a grey-haired lady someday with a teeny cottage by the beach in Monterey and a rose garden, carrying my laptop from room to room along with a tea trolley. Notice there are no kids in this picture.

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Carrie said...

Sounds awesomely beautiful!

My office wouldn't be an office. Just a laptop and one of those cushy patio chaise loungers. It would be on a white sandy beach, shaded by palm trees. Two of the palm trees would be home to my hammock where I'd take naps to the sound of the ocean. And of course I'd have my own personal cabana boy bringing me frosty margaritas all day long!


At 10:31 AM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

Hmmm, your "office" sounds pretty darned tempting, Carrie.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

YEah, I want Carrie's office, too!

At 8:20 PM, Anonymous valerie parv said...

Forget Carrie's office, I'll settle for the cabana boy. He is a Johnny Depp as Pirate lookalike, right? Romance writers need all the inspiration we can get.

Hi, Josh. Interesting that men get the guilts, too. Would it be the same if you weren't writing about romance?


At 8:00 PM, Blogger Tori Scott said...

Don't know about your cabana boy, Valerie, but mine looks more like Mel Gibson in Die Hard.


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