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The evolution of my creative space

Moseyin’ Along

October 5, 2011
By Joyce Schenk, COLUMNIST
One of the advantages of being a writer is portability. Unlike the concert pianist with his grand piano or the landscape artist with his easel and brushes, a writer requires only a pencil, paper and a place to sit and create.

I’ve spent more than 40 years at this challenging, rewarding, frustrating yet fulfilling lifestyle. And during that time, I’ve written in many settings.

Starting with a legal pad at the kitchen table, I eventually moved to an out-of-the-way corner of the bedroom, then a little nook in the living room.

When we entered our “snow bird” period, spending summers in Chautauqua County and winters in Florida, my “mobile” office returned to the kitchen table. For half of the year, I worked between meals in our Mayville kitchen, the other half year in the downsized cooking space in our Punta Gorda camper.

Some time later, we enjoyed a regular home in Florida. But Hurricane Charley came along to huff and puff the place away. During the months that followed, we went back to the camper lifestyle. Necessity required me to work on a tray table wedged between the end of my bed and the closet.

When at last a new home replaced the storm shattered house, my creative corner finally found a room of its own.

Although far from the spacious digs of such luminaries as Dean Koontz or Dave Barry, my cozy little office provides exactly what I need to energize my muse.

With four bookcases filled with a wildly eclectic assemblage of books and mementos, the space makes up in inspiration for what it lacks in neatness.

There’s an easily reached collection of such necessities as Roget’s Thesaurus, Webster’s Dictionary, The Elements of Style, The AP Style Book and my ever-present Writer’s Market.

In addition, I’m surrounded by the works of writers I’ve admired through the years from Stephen King’s “On Writing” to Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones.”

But my cluttered creative space boasts more than simple tributes to the mechanics of this field of endeavor. I’m also encircled by bits of whimsy and wonder that continue to feed my imagination and bring me joy.

On the shelf over my desk, the teddy bears I’ve written about in the past smile down. Each day, these loyal pals welcome and encourage me with outstretched arms.

There are also longtime favorites like my two “face-mug” pencil holders, picked up at a long-ago craft show. From their nearby shelf, they proved me with unfailing comic relief, no matter what my mood. A foil-wrapped kaleidoscope from my college days is always on standby to give my eyes a welcome color-burst break during long writing sessions.

Atop another bookcase is a group of family photos, reminding me of the loved ones who serve as unfailing motivators and supporters.

I’ve come a long way from the days of those legal pads I scribbled on between meals at the kitchen table. But, though I’ve finally developed a creative corner filled with all the equipment, the whimsy and the treasures I’ve gathered through the years, my words continue to come from the same resource I have always relied on.

Each week, I tap the well springs of my heart and mind and send the results moseyin’ on their way to you.


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