My “Writing Room” is alive with art and hope, but is especially cold since I’ve abandoned it.
My “Writing Room” invites me in and asks, “Why not bring a fresh cup of coffee and sit and write awhile. We barely know each other yet you’ve touched me in every way.” I still walk away. The room is demanding and I am non-committal. When did I become a crude, deceitful bachelor? You know, the man who loves and leaves because he fears he’s not enough for an incredible woman? Yet, he never tells her she’s incredible so she thinks something is wrong with her. I thought I would be a gentleman.
My characters know they are kept from the world, especially my antagonist, Clara. She knows her story has a home, yet I allow her to take up an enormous amount of priceless real estate in my head. Clara continues to call for her room, a beautiful space where she and her cast mates can jump onto a sheet of paper, in beautiful journal and come alive. I selfishly keep them close, imprisoning them because they are so engaging, intimate and sometimes, twisted. They possess questionable morals and live in highly unique circumstances. Their conversations are so lurid, I can’t wait to “listen in” on them. And, the moment a character bores me, he exists no more. Yet, I place the limitations of my mind on them. Who knows where their story will go if I let them out in their room, on their paper in their ink?
I can take any conversation, especially one overheard that makes no particular sense, and create either a beautiful or sinister story from my initial perception of the ambiguous, partial dialogue. I can lose myself into a fantasyland and lock the door so no one else can enter.
If I encounter an especially charismatic persona in reality, I can build their life moment by moment, truth or not, up to the very instance I see them closely or fortunately, meet them. Then, the illusion may be shattered. Yet, I still don’t release them in the “writing room” where they have space to grow and tell me their truth. No, I don’t breathe them onto paper easily. I go from a terrible bachelor to an over-protective mother.
I have the ability to visualize my characters in great detail down to a particular shade of nail polish or the placement of grey hairs.
My characters develop into people living in my mind waiting for the day I unpack them one by one on paper and give them eternal life in the world. Honestly, I fear I might lose them to the reality of criticism.
I buy journals and notebooks and electronics and haphazardly write pieces of their stories on pages and papers, in folders and journals because there is no possible way for me to describe how real and ridiculous and wonderful these characters are in one place.
When someone asks, “What is your story about?” I answer with shock. The most boring, simplistic answer dribbles out of my mouth making me even wonder if the story is worth writing down and why would anyone read it?
There is no fucking way I can pitch the enormity of the story in three sentences or less to someone who doesn’t know how I’ve created and nurtured it. It’s an attempt to sell your friends to strangers.
I take expensive writing classes I’m easily bored with because I’m supposed to. I think, “Didn’t Edith Wharton do this? Take a class? No, she built a summer estate in the Berkshires and wrote there, like a normal billionaire whose personal assistant picks up pages of written material off the bedroom floor to edit.”
I attend a remarkable writing conference, “Writer’s Digest Annual Conference” where what I hear and learn haunts me. The information is given to absorb and I do. The creativity and experience shared is brilliant and overwhelming and I think, “Perhaps I am not a writer even though I have a “Writing Room.” I may have the best room than most people at the conference, but, they write.
I think I should be an interior decorator instead? Oh, Edith Wharton did that also and still wrote a few masterpieces including one on interior design. So, I created a beautiful writing space, a room with all the ambiance and supplies needed to write. I think, “Jane Austen couldn’t imagine writing in a space as elegant and well equipped.” Well, that’s probably because she didn’t need space or elegance to write because she was fucking brilliant! Yet, I believe I do need all these ‘things’ because I really am not that talented and how dare I compare myself to Edith or Jane.
My “Writing Room” holds a very feminine writing desk of distressed white paint on wood accompanied by a chair so pretty, it’s a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps the glittery, ruffled pillows don’t help my posture. The original art is by two favorite artists, a painter, Gigi Chen who has done three pieces for me; two watercolors and an acrylic and an illustrator, Melsy, whose work I collect. The candles on my desk were purchased in a “magical” store and burn for clarity and creativity because I’ve suddenly become a god-damn witch. The chandelier above holds large, clear crystals just like my desk lamp, because I need to write in a beautiful space. I have pictures of loved ones to help guide and inspire me because not only am I a damn witch, I’ve become a medium and to create, I need magical and mystical powers. Only the best writing instruments, given to me by the best art dealers, Derwent and Pentel, are placed in a large ceramic crown for when I magically write in one of my precious, slightly used journals I’ve collected. I didn’t mention one needs a crown to write? I actually have two on my desk.
Piles of books surround me. Some have a place, but most don’t. Most are 1st editions signed by authors who actually sat down and wrote the story in their head. Imagine that? A few of these authors have even given me writing advice and encouraged me to pursue my dreams.
I’ve never really written in the “Writing Room,” because it’s too perfect and demands too much from me. Now, I have created a “living” room with expectations just like my characters and potential readers.
Today, I realize, sitting on a custom fabric bar stool at the enormous marble island in my kitchen that I hate my laptop, but it’s just a tool. I think, “Use one of your fabulous fucking pens, Cinderella!” Take it out of the fucking crown on your desk and open one of your over-priced linen journals you purchased somewhere in the world and write. Yes, Cinderella lives in the “Writing Room” too.
I look ahead at the mosaic of small marble tiles over the gleaming stainless steel oven and then to my right, out the door to the property I’ve chosen to own filled with trees. An enormous spider is crafting a gorgeous web in my doorway. Did E.B.White have such creative difficulties? Was Charlotte this demanding? Or, did he look out his door and see a beautiful spider spinning her web and know her story needed to be shared with the world? I am so happy he chose to share.
Am I an artist? A writer? A voice inside me screams, “Let your characters live in the real world. People need to meet them!” My characters quietly respond, “You can be a wonderful writer. Yes, we are your fragile children, but you can’t keep us in this beautiful place forever. Not everyone will love us, but we know you always will.”