I have friends whose offices are a study in well-organized shelves, neat piles and dust-free cabinets. Mine? Not so much. My bookshelves surround the room (I have one against every wall), and all of them are packed with books like the one in the picture. Some hold books on writing craft, others have my “keeper” novels, one has all Jane Austen-related works — both research guides and fiction, and another (the largest) has the stacks of print novels I’ve bought but have yet had a chance to read. My desk itself is mostly taken up with the computer and telephone, but the remaining space is a cluttered collection of paper scraps and notecards on which I’ve jotted messages to myself. Many of them are quotes, sometimes with shades of contradiction (i.e., “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” ~ Buddha vs. “You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren’t. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don’t think your way into becoming yourself.” ~ Anne Lamott). But I like that. I don’t think ideas are always neat and easy and, to me, writing creatively requires the ability to tolerate ambiguity and paradox. Above my desk, I have a poster from one of my favorite classic movies, “Roman Holiday.” To my left, I have one from “The Philadelphia Story” and, to my right, a poster featuring Shakespeare’s works — inspiration for good dialogue! I’ve written over half a dozen novels in this little space and, though my office is messy and sometimes dusty, it’s still my favorite place to write.
Marilyn Brant – Award winning Woman’s Fiction Writer.