Saturday, April 27, 2013

We are where we write

I am moving my office today, will that change how I write? I mostly write at home before dawn, however when I have a spare moment or two I've been known to jot a line down at the office. For the past two years, my office has been windowless and quiet. Will it change when I have not one but two windows with city and sunset views? I hope it's better than Starbucks.

I've never really been a Starbucks writer. You know the type. He or she sits at a Starbucks and types away over a single cup of coffee. There appear to be three sub-groups of Starbucks writers--the one who shows no emotion like a poker player. I thought one well-dressed woman was going over a spreadsheet for a technical consulting company, but when I glanced at her computer screen she was apparently writing steamy erotica.

The second Starbucks writer winces in pain while they furiously type away. These writers look like they are physically possessed by a demon. However, I have been fooled by this type. One man looked like he was writing a Game of Thrones type thriller--I thought that by his smell alone--however he was the one going over the spread sheet.

 Finally there is the writer who is not really writing, but is reading the purple section of USA Today. Technically the third one isn't a Starbucks writer, but merely someone who is "hanging out" at Starbucks. To paraphrase Fred Armisen from Portlandia, Starbucks is where the young writer goes to retire. I have been that writer.

I don't get much writing done at my office, because my phone is always ringing, but the last two years have been different. I now live with two cats and one wife at home. Or is it one cat and two wives? In any event, on weekend mornings there are times I like the solitude of a blank office, especially when the vacuum is on. Vacuums suck up creativity along with dirt.

Writing at the office is work not play. I once spent an entire morning dealing with tabs--the spacing and not the breed of cat-- however herding stray tabs in a 90,000 word novel can be like herding stray cats.

The new office is on the second floor of an old building. I will be the last office down the hall, and there is a window at the door so people can see in. That might not be a good thing. Will I gaze at the sun set over the desert to the west instead of writing? On the other hand, I will be able to see people going to the coffee shop all day. Who are those people? Are they characters in an upcoming book?

Perhaps offices should allow you to write a short story to see if they are conducive to writing. Landlords sometimes offer free rent, or no damage deposit. Maybe the first 500 words should be free.
If not, there's always Starbucks.

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