When I was at the Northwoods Writers Conference in Bemidji this past summer, author Ron Carlson did a three hour workshop for the whole kitten-caboodle of us. His main message: the author is the one who stays in the room. How he packaged the message was hysterical. He told how he would hit a snag in a story and, rather than abandon the work, he’d let himself meander to wherever his thoughts would go until the story came back to him. It is these meanderings that make his stories so fun to read, for he kept the meanderings in the writing. If you are interested, check out his book A Kind of Flying, selected stories from his work.Well, here I sit, at a small desk set up in a corner of my living room. To my right is the kitchen which is always calling me to do one thing or another. Right now it is telling me to put the clean dishes away and start breakfast. Later it will tell me to finish the canning so I can put the equipment away, clean the stove and floor. Behind the kitchen wall is the laundry room with its own voice. I hear it calling when the dryer buzzes and even if I am in the middle of a great sentence, I will jump and run so that I can get the shirts onto hangars before their wrinkles go permanent on me. Through the windows and doors on the wall in front of me I can hear the birds and squirrels who are always inviting me to grab a cup of coffee and go out for a chat. In the winter I close these and I can’t hear their nagging but then the fireplace on my left crackles and pops as it burns old wood and I hear the same invitation. Behind me is the hall that leads to our bedroom and the small den we call the TV room because that is the only thing we do there. God knows that a good nap or a time to zone out before Judge Judy brings balance to my life as a writer.
I need a new room.