A Moveable Feast, of sorts

Home isn’t always the best place for me to get serious writing time in. I’ve heard this from other writers, too—the audible sighing of the refrigerator wherein goodies lie in wait, the laundry that rustles in the hamper, the skittering of dust bunnies under the bed. And these days, when the deadline for my new book (Wild Women, Wild Voices) looms over me like the leggy philodendron on my bookshelf and I need to get some serious work done, I’ve been loading up my laptop and hitting the road. In the past two weeks my writing and I have encamped in so many different locations, it’s beginning to feel like a moveable feast, except it’s more like a feast that’s in early preparation stages, all potatoes to peel and lettuce to wash.

One delightful stop: the Central Library. Finally, finally, San Diego has a world-class main library; it’s located in the East Village downtown. My friend Ellen and I ensconced ourselves in a study room on the 8th floor with our laptops, notebooks, and a view over the bay to the beautiful sweep of the Coronado Bridge. I went back again a few days later. The library offers two hours free parking in the underground garage, except during Padres home games.
reading-room-of-san-diego-central-library-offers-city-viewsLestat’s Coffee House is one of my favorite cafes in San Diego. Well, two of my favorite cafes since they have locations in Normal Heights and in University Heights. Our Thursday Writers group meets at the Normal Heights cafe, so on Thursdays, I go early, grab a table in the big room with the statue of winged victory and the red velvet lounging sofa.
lestats-coffee-house-san-diego-eatsd-windowWeekends I like Lestat’s on Park though it’s often so crowded you have to take a walk-through before you order your coffee to make sure you can get a table. The main room has what must be a 25-foot sofa covered in something that looks like ostrich or crocodile, and there are peahens painted on the walls of one of the bathrooms. Many mirrors, too. I like Lestat’s owner John Husler’s aesthetic and sense of humor. Good coffee and eats, too and all those other writers writing.
post_display_cropped_open-uri20130909-13943-1bwrglzEllen and I have also set up shop at her dining room table a couple of Monday mornings and though we’re sitting across from each other with no more than a few feet between us, we’re both head-down, nose-to-the-grindstone, as it were, and can go for a couple of hours without even speaking, just writing. I’ve been a long-time advocate of writing alone/writing together, but I still haven’t been able to say exactly what it is about writing with someone else that intensifies attention and focus. I just know it works.

San Diego Writers, Ink offers open studio time to members a couple of times each week. Each day is hosted by a different SDWI volunteer/writer. You can go Tuesdays before Brown Bag and Friday mornings. Always, The Ink Spot is filled with good writerly mojo. I go sometimes and set myself up at the fish tables along with a couple of other writers. We grin hello then get to work.
inkspotNext door to The Ink Spot at Liberty Station is Inspirations Gallery. Jill Hall is owner-artist-writer and all-around generous person. Sometimes she invites me to come write with her in the gallery’s off-hours. The Yee Haw Western Wonders show is up now and it does my wild women good to be surrounded by all that western influence. Keeps the wild alive as I work.
Inspirations121bannerBut even with all these options, I’m trying to train myself to ignore all the mumbling and skitterings that go on in my apartment and stay home to work. At home I have all my research material close at hand and a never-empty pot of coffee. Plus I can wear my lounge wear (some might say pajamas).
messy workWhat’s your style? Go out or stay at home? Do you have a writing room or writing studio at home where you can ensconce yourself? ? If you go out, do you wear headphones to muffle the noise? Do you like to write alone or with someone else?

8 thoughts on “A Moveable Feast, of sorts

  1. i like the idea miss.espically whe you headed to the central library on 8th floor .i can imagine and feel the inspiration that u have there. i can feel it either . its like panorama .its like you have all the huge world close at hand

    me too i like high places for the sake of high thughts.hhhhhhhhhhhh by the way your saying “…..and never empty-pot of coffee” makes me laugh so you are a coffee- edicted like me .yes you are right caffeine energize the body and the mind as well
    you know that my teachers and classmates laugh at me when i brought coffe with me in writing module .hhhhhhhh any way, for me i ilke solitude, isolation as possible as i can . and no matter home , coffe , or at picnic .
    personally i see that in order to gain silence,freedom or whatever we need we ought have it in our minds first .than every thing will come easy after
    at last i wont to say “thaaaaaaaaaaaaank you your a great and kind person thnx for this site .where i find a place to express myself to worth-trusty peaple like you. i felt such love and relief while riting to you. your are my second mom i can feel your soft hand rubbing my hair and say “thnx narimane “you are doing great” and who knows maybe we will meet together one day who knows.

    • What a pleasure to find you in this space again Narimane. Thank you for coming today and for commenting on the post. Yes, that new Central Library is a gorgeous place. Glad to know we have more than writing in common… our love of coffee! Thank you for all your kind words, and yes, keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing great.

  2. I have a writing room with a bulletin board facing my computer. An old Xlibris poster with a photo of Virginia Woolf pinned on the cork reminds me daily that writing isn’t easy but has rewards greater than any other occupation. Every award I ever won is framed and on my walls, even the silly ones. They give me courage to continue because there are rewards to be gained. Even if only a slip of paper, they are accolades for writing something memorable. When deep in my characters’ story, the jazz I listen to and the scent of the candles I burn fade away as I become part of their world. Although I am a solitary writer tethered to an iMac desktop, story notes and bits of ephemera I collect as research litter my room. Ah, the writing life. Isn’t it wonderful that there are so many of us and as many different ways to find the story?

    • Thanks for commenting, Sarah. Your writing space sounds wonderful, esp. all those accolades encouraging you to keep after it. What a good idea!

  3. The last photo scares me. I blame it on my proofreader skills but if a space is cluttered it jams my brain. I am constantly putting things away and then getting mad because I need it again and have to go one more time to get it out. While I have the perfect writer set up (just wait for a couple sentences) the best place I ever wrote in was the forest. I didn’t know about the cougars although I kept an ear out for bears.

    I lack the discipline to use the natural setting outside the windows, the quiet and peace, the hum of fridge and the sound of water in the pipes that takes me back in time and a million ideas. The balcony is great with its flowers and quiet and the sound of a million birds and the heat that sits over our town from spring to fall. That is until I remember the stucco and the iron railing and the tiny space that looks like a little cell or something and the silty dust on the floor and that stupid crow.

    The trouble is I am single minded. I either talk constantly or ignore everyone so I can’t work with people. You should see me cook a dinner party meal. I forget the garlic bread in the oven. Burn myself getting the chicken out and talk to someone at the same time. That is why I don’t wear ear muffs for walking — my single mindedness gets me into enough trouble what with almost walking into buses, trucks, et.

    So being the mess that I am I just have to sit there and do it.

    • And for some reason noisy coffee shops work wonders. You hear it but it isn’t directed to you so you can ignore it. We even have non smoking in public areas now so you can breathe while you write. Woo hoo!

      • Thanks for commenting, Linda. Only thing about those coffee shops, I have to curb my people-watching tendencies. But what you say about being able to ignore the noise because it isn’t personal, while at home… anything is distracting.

    • Scares me, too, Linda. I have to clean a mess like that up before I can work again. This was an afternoon’s research flurry.

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