The writer’s room by Yvonne Maximchuk

After fifty plus years of at least semi-con­scious intro­spec­tion I con­clude I am some­what dis­or­gan­ized. I no longer fight this, but accept it as an essen­tial ele­ment of my cre­at­ive being. A cer­tain amount of order is neces­sary to actu­ally pull a concept into tan­gible mani­fest­a­tion; how­ever this does not begin in a writer’s room.

The first writer’s room is in my mind, inde­pend­ence from dis­tract­ing stim­uli the only require­ment. Because I live in wil­der­ness and con­sequently am extremely sound sens­it­ive, earplugs are some­times needed for this writer’s room.

IMGP0085 copyLuckily the cre­at­ive force is power­ful and absorb­ing. Mrs. Ferguson, my grade five teach­er, called it ‘day­dream­ing’ and encour­aged me to write down the beau­ti­ful thoughts and word strings so I could weave them togeth­er into a lar­ger nar­rat­ive. Hence a pen and note­book are also needed in my writer’s room.

Often a writer, includ­ing me, takes years to birth a book from a stew of incom­plete ideas so, at a cer­tain time, a phys­ic­al space becomes import­ant. I must be com­fort­able to write; good back sup­port, pad­ded arm rests, feet at the right height from the floor. In my writer’s room a black ‘wheel­ie chair’ has pride of place. My neigh­bor built a cedar pic­nic table for me, which I painted white and is now stained with lay­ers of paint splashes. The half of it ded­ic­ated to writ­ing is stacked with piles of notes rel­ev­ant to sev­er­al pro­jects.

When I raise my eyes from the com­puter, one win­dow reveals the camel­lia, clematis and Japanese maple tree – col­or for all sea­sons and a rest from the screen. The oth­er win­dow shows ever-chan­ging sky, dis­tant islands and closer con­ifers. Both views allow me con­tem­pla­tion space and eye relax­a­tion. Windows are essen­tial for my writer’s room.

On a shelf below the win­dow sits a CD player/​radio. Often my daugh­ter Theda’s inspir­a­tion­al music plays. Nearby, a book­shelf rich with the beauty and mean­ing of the ages; dic­tion­ary and thesaur­us, books about root words, the writer’s art and artist’s rights, books of oth­er authors’ jour­neys of dis­cov­ery and on every aspect of my favor­ite top­ic, the coastal world I inhab­it.

My writer’s room is my artist’s stu­dio, which embraced its dual role around 2000. It was a com­fort­able trans­ition as my writ­ing habits are the same as my paint­ing habits… notice, con­tem­plate, ima­gine, not­ate, gath­er, assemble, sit in one place often enough to shape some­thing new and inter­est­ing. I love my writer’s rooms.

Paula’s note: Yvonne Maximchuk is an artist and author of three books includ­ing a Tide Ripsmem­oir of her wil­der­ness life in the Broughton Archipelago, Drawn to Sea – From Paintbrush to Chainsaw, Carving out a Life on BC’s Rugged Raincoast. Yvonne and the legendary Billy Proctor are tour­ing Vancouver Island with their new pub­lic­a­tion Tide Rips and Back Eddies, Bill Proctor’s Tales of Blackfish Sound. Dates and ven­ues can be found at www​.yvon​nemax​imchuk​.com.




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