My favorite room in the house is my study. It's a small 10 by 12 foot room, with wall-to-wall gray carpeting, and rhinestone gray painted walls. On a cloudy day, the walls reflect the dimness of the clouds outside through the single window, which is always open a crack for the cat to come and go through. If the air conditioning escapes out the window, I can turn on the ceiling fan overhead to cool my weary writer's perspiration. The temperature is always comfortable as I sit at my computer, and the cigarette smoke is less thick with the window open.
As you enter the room you'll see my BA college diploma in a black frame on a mat of burnt orange, from the University of Texas at Austin, and a picture of "The Tower," lit up orange as is the winning game tradition. It's the same view of the tower I had from my dorm room in 1976. My study is the room I dreamed of having to work in someday, as I studied toward history, English, and education mastry, and whatever career lay ahead of me.
When I go to my study, my two big dogs follow me, and sometimes "Emily," the inside-outside kitty joins us. The settee, under the burnt orange pictures on the wall, is covered with a thick cotton material, patterned in florals of greens, rust colors, and browns. The settee (which the delivery man refered to as a "setter") is seldom sat on, being the most convenient place to pile things, like a big plastic box filled with CDs, and other possibly necessary papers, and books. Too many things are kept handy instead of filed away in an organized fashion. The settee serves my purpose for it well. The Victorian legs sit at an angle across the corner of the room, opposite the computer, and next to the window. "Emily's" dinner bowl also sits atop the disconnected VHS player planted on top of the pile of stuff on the settee, barely out of the dog's slurp range. The room is small, but full of comfortable stuff, and everything a writer could ever need.
Shelves line two of the walls, holding specially selected fiction, several years of several magazines, Spanish books, medical dictionaries and biology and veterianary books, my workbooks for ESL, and several dictionaries. I keep my checkbook business filed on half of one shelf, so I'll always be able to find what I need. If I want to find some book I know I own, I'll probably end up looking on the shelves in fours rooms here, or possibly boxed away in the garage. When I was in second grade, I visited a friend's house, and was impressed by the austerity of a room lined to the ceiling in books. The concept must have stayed with me, though the books have yet to all find a home on a shelf by a wall.
If the 27" screen televsion is on, the room is full of sound, and music, and life. There's only a space of maybe 3 1/2 feet between my computer chair and the television. It's not a big room. In the dark of night, I like to light several candles, and place them carefully about the room (cats and drafts considered) to set a more soft atmosphere for writing. The printer is in reach, lodged in its space below the desk, and the telephone is within reach on a shelf to the left of the chair. It's my very own cozy working library, including all the required conveniences of the twenty-first century. I couldn't ask for more, though I've been thinking about adding a globe. The names of countries change so often now, maybe I'll delay an investment in current cartography until the world settles down a bit.
The two shelves on the top and center of my huge sectional desk, contain five small leather bound anthologies--the ones in which my poems have been printed, as well as three CDs, titled "The Sounds of Poetry (picked, published by recording, and professionally presented under the auspicies of the now notorious Poetry.com. I'm proud to have my work in print as well as CD, but learning that Poetry.com has its own motives for publication (financial profits--a Fortune 500 company developed from the exhorbitant fees extracted from the naive through flattery and faux recognition. The 2005 Edition of the Writer's Market, and the Photographer's Market, also sit on the glass shelves above me, and are always lit with a small watt track light in the shelf above. A ceramic friendship angel, a carved eagle, and a chunk of coral further adorn this place of distinction. The lower shalf holds my desk name plate, remaing as evidence that I did indeed teach and sponsor student council all those years ago. Seems like a lifetime, but it's only been about ten years. I never let the layer of dust get too thick on the glass, so I can see through for inspiration as necessary.
The office furniture was purchased from a store by the name of Weir's in Dallas, Texas, in 1999. The furniture is constructed of dark Carolina Pine, and is sectional and matching in style. The shelves, which rise to within a foot of the ceiling, are filled with books on computer skills, and language, and religion. There's no room for a bed in this bedroom, but this is not a room for sleeping.
A huge brown luscious leather executive chair sits in front of the shelf system's desk, which has drawers, two glass fronted doors, and lots of and compartments for computer hardware, discs, the printer, and CDs, with a smattering of needed papers on top of the whole thing. The dictionary and thesaurus are handy, as well as the turntable, and probably the last Beatle album I listened to.
The brown burlap bulletin board section at the back of the desk has papers that aren't supposed to get lost: college transcripts, medical records, and recent user names and passwords I need to access. I recently added a "Peanuts" cartoon which explains that "good writing is hard work." Despite my best efforts, my desk is not tidy because it is so often in use. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking with it.
Sitting cross-legged in my executive chair, bathed in the glow of candlelight, I sit for hours into the early morning of a new day, plink-plunking away at the keyboard in the silence of the night. My study is the place my writing dreams that sometime come true, and one place on earth I would not want to live without.