Where I write

It’s true, a per­son can write any­where. On the bus, at a park bench or even in the bathtub. I be­lieve each per­son writes best when they’re in a place that is per­fect for them.

Some like the back­ground buzz of a cap­puccino bar while oth­ers thrive on the clat­ter of key­board keys as they pound out story after story in a news­pa­per news­room. Personally, I prefer the quiet am­bi­ance of my home of­fice. And, as the old­est room in our 96-year old house, the room def­in­itely has ambiance.

To be­gin with, its ample size provides plenty of room for two desks, built-in and port­able book­cases, a fil­ing cab­in­et (there are more in the base­ment) and two tables to pile things on. (Despite the best of in­ten­tions, I’m a piler, not a filer.)

But it’s the transom win­dows that I love best. At 1.6 metres tall by one metre wide  (or 5 feet, 3 inches and 3 feet, one inch for the met­ric­ally chal­lenged) the nat­ur­al light provides a wel­come res­pite from the glow of the com­puter screen.

And to tell the truth, they also present ample op­por­tun­it­ies for dis­trac­tion. In the spring my eyes are drawn to a snowstorm of white plum blos­soms, a mini­ature forest of daf­fodils and a two-storey tall mock or­ange. Fall storms bring a rust col­oured car­pet of plate-sized maple leaves.

The view from my win­dow one day this May.

But it’s the wild­life that lures me out of my com­puter chair. Over the years I’ve watched deer, rac­coons, mink and squir­rels, as well as fer­al cats and rab­bits out­side my writ­ing room window.

Then there’s the caw­ing of crows and ravens and the high pitched screech of an eagle. Or the ca­co­phony of sound an army of small birds made the day a Barred owl perched in a Douglas fir. I watched as a hum­ming­bird dar­ted for­ward to stab the en­emy in the chest with a tiny beak. Despite his or her bravery, the owl did­n’t budge.

The most sur­pris­ing dis­turb­ance though, was the day my fin­gers paused on the key­board as I wondered why I thought I heard a tur­key gob­bling. We do live in a rur­al area but there aren’t any do­mest­ic fowl in the neighbourhood.

But when I peered out the win­dow there was a full grown tom, tail feath­ers fanned out in an im­press­ive dis­play, dan­cing around a flock of fe­male tur­keys on the lawn next door. I don’t know where these do­mest­ic birds es­caped from or how they went wild, but they hung around for a month or so, un­til one by one, they all disappeared.

After 22 years of en­joy­ing a great view and hav­ing a ring­side seat to nature’s drama, I’m totally ad­dicted. If we ever move, at the top of my cri­ter­ia list for a new house will be a writ­ing space with big win­dows and a view.


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