The Room Where It Happens

It's "spring" in Alaska, where "spring" always comes with quotation marks, since to the rest of the world, it still looks suspiciously like winter. But I went for a run yesterday in high-thirty-degree weather, no wind (no sun, either), splashing through snowmelt, and it felt like real spring for the first time this year.

New things are born in spring, and although I started a new project a few weeks ago, after shifting my focus briefly to the line editing phase of The Killing Drink, I'm back to the new thing. This is one of the hardest phases of writing for me -- the first draft, when everything is uncertain. I'm trying to embrace this part, when I can play, and experiment, and throw in every idea I have. Clean-up comes later. Right now, it should just be fun.

I'm lucky enough to live in an apartment with a second bedroom, which I use as my office/cat habitat. The office part is pictured. (The rest of the room is home to a cat tree and several cat beds.) I work full time, so most of my writing time happens first thing in the morning, around 5:30 a.m., after I've had a little internet time and enough coffee to wake up. Sometimes the darkness of an Alaskan winter can be tough, but I really love being up that early, writing by the glow of my desk lamp while everywhere else, it's dark; it's like writing in a cave, with only a small fire to keep my company. (Well, a small fire and a purring cat.)

The Post-It notes are mostly words of encouragement/advice I've gleaned from other writers. (Right now, my favorite is "The best reason to write something down is to change it," which comes from Jean Thompson.) Yes, there's a picture of Idris Elba asking, "Shouldn't you be writing?" (Hey, if Stringer Bell tells you to get something done, you do it.) And yes, there's a framed drawing of a stick figure smiling and pooping. Because even if everything comes out shit, there's still a reason, somewhere in the mess, to be happy -- even if you're just happy that you have something to change the next time you sit down to write.