This week, Daphne Kalotay (who we also interviewed this week) tells us about her writing room in Boston.
My Writing Room by Daphne Kalotay
I’m very fortunate in that I rent a lovely apartment with its own study off of the main room. This study has nice big built-in bookshelves, which I think make any room look immediately better! But best of all is the sunlight; the room faces southeast, making it nice and bright in the morning, which is when I like to write. And natural light always gives me energy, especially in the winter (which can be long here in Boston.)
I like to be able to spread out, so when I first moved in and started looking for a desk, none seemed large enough. I ended up buying this dining room table at Crate and Barrel, and put it together myself; only if you look underneath will you see that not all the screws are in correctly…. The chair came from the furniture company where my sister works; it supposedly has some irregularity that made it unsellable, but I’ve found it comfortable. I also like that it’s red, because I learned somewhere that red is an energizing color. The rug I chose for the floor is red, too; a friend brought it back for me from Morocco.
I know that some writers don’t like distractions and wouldn’t want their work area to be facing a somewhat busy street, but I’m the opposite. Since writing is such a solitary activity, I like (crave, actually) the company of the world outside—the sound of passing cars, of people chatting, of dogs barking and birds chirping. So a key element of why my writing room works well for me is that I can look right out the window and see life going on all around me—people walking past, the mailman making his rounds, a neighbor out jogging.
One block away is a playground, and when I have the windows open there’s a constant din of children’s voices (lots of joyful screaming), which I find lively and vitalizing.
It’s now been nearly ten years that I’ve been writing at this desk; it has faded quite a bit from all the sunlight. Sometimes I put out some inspiring little thing to keep me going—a photograph, or a quote I like. Right now I have a little picture of a bird I clipped from a magazine, just because I love birds and thought it was cute. I also have a postcard of a picture by Rodin, because it figures in the new piece I’m writing.
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