When I write, I wish I could retreat to a private nook, where I’d sit on a lumbar chair in front of a fancy desk and reach out for a bookshelf overflowing with reference books. Unfortunately, reality and wishful thinking don’t meet, so when I write, I have to grab baby and look for a quiet spot.
You guessed it, baby is my little laptop, and if it were a person, it would have already earned enough frequent flyer miles to fly to Halifax and back. Baby sleeps under my bed, along with a pencil and a notebook, in case inspiration strikes me in the middle of the night. I take baby everywhere, and unless someone is talking to me or the battery is dead, I write.
Though I’m not picky about my surroundings, there are some places where I prefer to work more than others. Busy waiting rooms and middle seats on planes are not among my top ten ideal locations. Strangers should know better than to breathe down my neck as they peeked at my computer screen. On the other hand, it’s kinda fun to see their expressions when they realise I’m plotting a bombing, a hijacking, a kidnapping or a murder LOL.
My favourite place to write is my basement, my warm basement—Sorry Lorna. Picture a rectangle room with half-windows and a beige/green carpet. In the winter, the snow obscured the windows, but in the summer, it’s bright and sunny. At one end, there’s a contraction called exercising machine. When my muse takes a break or refuses to cooperate, I send her (and me) for a 3-mile run. At the other end of the room, there’s a gas fireplace, which I turn on ten months of the year.
Right now, I’m on the couch by the fireplace with baby on my lap. Scattered within reach on the carpet—okay, I kinda need to stretch a bit—there are:
-Stacks and stacks of loose sheets of papers, some blank, some with timelines, some with my characters’ traits, some with half written plots, some with trivial bits of info and some with names and phone numbers. What can I say, the phone is nearby, and I need to write the messages somewhere.
-Dictionaries, thesaurus, writing guides—in English and French—with tattered pages, broken spines and stained covers. I’m always searching for a word or an expression.
On a virtual level, I downloaded translucent sticky notes on baby’s desktop with links to reference and publishing sites. And then, there’s a folder titled M2, which is the manuscript I’m working on at the moment. In it, I have three different drafts and a rejected file where I send all the sections I cut from my drafts. I never delete anything since I never know when I’ll need that “brilliant” paragraph which didn’t fit into M2.
It may seem disorganized to some, but considering I’m mostly on the go—a friend calls it gallivanting—it allows me to meet my daily word quota no matter where I end up spending my day or my week.
If only I could find a new name for my silver baby. Something original, catchy, inspiring… Any suggestion?