This article is part of the Rolling Mystery Blog Tour. Other bloggers who participated in this roll are listed at the end of this article. Ryder Islington started off today on the subject of Writer’s Cave. Her article can be found at http://ryderislington.wordpress.com/
If you haven’t already visited her site, please take time out today to stop by and have a look.
My Writer’s Cave
When I first began writing almost twenty years ago, I did so exclusively in my office (a spare bedroom) tethered to my desktop computer, except for those times when I printed out a chapter and escaped to my favorite coffee shop to revise what I’d written.
In that little room, overlooking the magnolia tree in the front yard and listening to the melodious song of the mockingbird, I turned out three books and several dozen articles. But then there came a time in our lives when my husband and I found that living in a city we watched grow from 300,000 to almost a million in twenty-five years became too tedious. We needed a change, so we sold our house and one car, put the desktop and those possessions we couldn’t live without into storage, and moved to San Juan Island in Washington State. The plan was for me to take a couple of years off from teaching and write. In celebration of my new lifestyle, I purchased my first laptop. Our new home, nicknamed the tree house because of its second-story placement among a grove of evergreens, was an open-style loft apartment. One corner of the bedroom became my new writing cave and a king-size pillow became my desk. The birds that entertained me now were the chickadees that flitted passed my windows. I was pleased that the non-traditional venue worked; by the end of two years, I’d completed four novels and was well into the fifth. After a return to the classroom had earned me enough teaching credits to retired, we hit the road again, this time for a twenty-month road trip through Eastern North America. My real writing challenge was about to begin. My first Sydney Lockhart mystery had just been released and the second one was scheduled for the following year. A few weeks into our trip, I’d sent another publisher a proposal for a nonfiction book, and by the end of that first year, I had another contract. So, while we traveled through thirty-one states and two Canadian provinces, resided in 251 hotels, motels, B&Bs, lakeside lodges, and wilderness cabins, and trucked down hundreds of back roads and byways, I completed two more books and a few more articles. Needless to say, I wrote wherever I found a quiet spot. In Grand Marais, Minnesota, my writer’s cave was the Moose Coffee Shop, it Perce, Quebec, I wrote from the deck of the Riotel Hotel overlooking a small bay, in Kingfield, Maine, I completed an entire chapter from the historic Herbert Grand Hotel’s front porch, and in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, I finished a travel article in a tiny room overlooking the city park and library where Punxsutawney Phil, the weather-predicting groundhog, lived. Our travels also took us along the entire coastline of the Gulf of Mexico from South Padre Island, Texas to Key West, Florida, then from Key West, along the Eastern Seaboard to Eastport, Maine. In Rockport, Texas, I wrote in a beach pavilion on Aransas Bay, in Apalachicola, Florida, I parked myself in the Café con Leche Café, in Cedar Key, Florida, I divided my writing time between Black Dog and Tables and Kona Joe’s Island Café, and during a few rainy days on Long Island, I hid out with my laptop at the East Norwich Inn. One afternoon on Nantucket Island, I found quietude in the Catholic Church where I organized some research notes.
In January we cleaned out our storage unit, and set up house in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. I have my own office again, my favorite books are within reach, and I drink my morning coffee from my old Sisters in Crime mug. But my desktop had become obsolete, so I removed the hard drive and gave the shell a decent burial. I love my permanent writing cave, but the wanderlust has not completely abated. When my good friend called last week and asked if I would house set while she visited relatives in another state, I had my bag out of the closet before I hung up the phone. Her house is located on a small, secluded island. It has a water view and a fairly friendly cat.
I think I can handle the location. Now, log-on to see what Mollie Bryan and KT Wagner have to say about their writer’s caves.