Friday, August 06, 2004
Tour Around the Blog Factory
NPR is doing a series on Creative Spaces. You know the scoop, an artist shows the journalist around his rustic woodland studio. The artist rambles on and on about his collection of antique fishing poles, casting flies, fishing vests with a couple dozen pockets, that sort of thing.

As a spin on the "creative spaces" idea, let's take a tour around the space where Prairie Tide gets plowed up. The space: a spare bedroom in a circa 1968 suburban paradise. The house's name is That 70's House, in honor of the home's lovely decorative touches that reflect it's noble birthright. The split-entry foyer, the kitsch chandelier, dark Mediterranean-style kitchen, the shag carpet. It's got some kinda style.

The writing room is the spare bedroom on the front corner of the house. Out one window, there's a view down the street of the other cool 70's monoliths on the block. This is my daydream window. Nothing suits me better than to sit and stare out the window. Once, I spotted an owl take flight from a neighbor's maple tree. On winter days when there is some sunshine, I can catch sight of the occasional red-tail hawk circling above the warmth rising off the street.

The window is conveniently located just above my mega L-shaped desk. This desk is a god-send. Earlier this year, my computer perched on a small student desk, a desk built before the advent of computers. Writing on that doll-sized desk was like trying to change clothes in the back seat of a Volkswagen Bug. Lots of banged-up elbows and bruised shins.

Then I spotted an ad in the newspaper pitching a computer desk for just $99. The first few people through the door would also receive a bookshelf-thing to put on top of the desk. The tiny student desk was promptly demoted to the family room where it now houses the checkbook, stamps, and credit-card receipts, and serves as a bill-paying station. Once the new desk was delivered, all I had to do was wait for the creativity to begin...

Silly me, I thought the new desk would be delivered as a finished unit, ready for me to set up the computer. The delivery guys dropped a long thing box that was so heavy, I feared it might implode into a dark hole. It dawned on me then that if I wanted the bargain corner desk, I'd have to assemble it myself. I didn't really come with instructions for assembly, just a diagram with lots of arrows. After much cursing, gashing of teeth, and help from Randy on the hard parts, the desk took it's place of glory.

Paper piles. Other than the over-sized desk, that's pretty much the main decorative element in this creative space. I've got two plastic crates jammed full of old bills and bank statements. The closet is stuffed to the brim with all the notes and research papers I wrote in grad school (just can't make myself through them out yet). There are stack about the floor and all across the top of the desk. Stacks of papers that I want to read, stacks I have read and want to write about, and stacks of paper that I've written about but now I don't know what else to do with them.

Also, there are books. The collection of nice-looking books are on the lovely oak bookshelf in the living room that Randy and his dad built for me. Here in the writing space, the bookshelves are mismatched but functional. They're lined with a fine collection of much-loved but snarled up sic-Fe paperbacks that looked a little too ratty for the living room. What's more, I have shelves and shelves of out-dated textbooks (hey, they might come in handy one day). Most attractive of all is the books I have arranged around the walls, propped up so I can see the book covers. These are the books I was supposed to read this summer. There are some computer manuals that make me sleepy just glancing at the titles, a few more textbooks (always wanted to take a philosophy class, never got around to it, but I've got the textbook should I feel the urge), and a whole bunch of paperbacks I picked up at a used book sale last fall. The book sale is coming up again in a month or so. If I don't dust these off and crack open the covers, it's back to the book sale they go.

Here's the best thing in my writing space: propped up by the computer is a black-and-white photo of baby Juddah, the newest nephew in the family. In the photo, Juddah is just a few days old. He's sleeping, and he is all wrinkly and has teeny fingernails. Everyone who sees the photo says the same thing: Awhhhhh!

So is this a creative space? Judging by the output on Prairie Tide, I better get me a collection of fishing rods.


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