where the writers are
Redroom Authors: Show Us Your Writing Space(s)?
Belle's First Desk at 636 Bush Street.jpg

For years, I've imagined a coffee table book with images of authors' desks and studios.

One Redroom author wrote a few weeks ago that her desk is piled high with papers and too unsightly to be photographed.  I said, "I'd like to see it."  She replied, "You first."  My room is relatively neat.  Where my feet rest is the spot is I plant my derriere to talk to y'all in Redroom.  The Mission style desk against the wall supports my canvases when I paint in oil.  The basket holds papers I have no place to file.  Too many books for the shelves here and in the garage, so dozens and dozens of books end up on the floor.  Those under the Misson style desk are mostly Shakespeare-related.


Below, the bookshelf for art books.  My great granddad's photo and Nemo, my white gorilla.

In 1992, I visited Amy Tan in her former San Francisco home.  As I was about to descend the stairs to go home, she said, "Wait.  Let me show you my writing space."  It was a cozy, irregularly shaped room with floor to ceiling bookshelves and a peek of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Her mother, Daisy, joined us and pulled down a framed picture of Amy's Dad from a shelf.  "See Amy takes after her father.  Same crooked smile," she said.

Nearly a decade later, when I was coming out of a period of bad health, Amy came to Carmel with Dave Eggers for an event on child psychology and paid a long visit at my house in Carmel with her Yorkies, Lilliput and Bubbazo.  The pair remained in her big cloth bag the entire time without letting out a rustle or a whimper.  They were serious (and more responsible-looking than any human I've ever encountered) about comforting and guarding their mistress.  After we had lunch, to my surprise, Amy, with child-like curiosity and mischievous smile, requested to see my working space.

I love writing desks and tables.  Always have.  As a kid in Japan, just learning to read, I'd stack up books and papers, pretending I was a very learned scholar.  I have a two hundred years-young Federal style desk upon which my 24-inch iMac rests.  I also have two Arts and Crafts period desks for stacking more books and CDs.  Then a vast, nondescript office desk my neighbor bequeathed to me, upon which I liberally throw ink and paint.  Here I was using a camcorder to make my Youtube video of my graphic novel-in-progress.

I've been posting in Redroom before it went live, and have cherished my near daily tete a tete with Jessica Barksdale Inclan.  Jessica, what does your writing space look like?  And Ericka Lutz, who appeared in Redroom in January, show us your space, please?  I am curious about all Redroom authors and especially those with whom I communicate more frequently: Francoise Renoir, Matthew Biberman, Evie Shockley, Darlene Arden, Thomas Huynh.  May we see the sacred (or profane) arena where your imagination and knowledge flow to produce articles, poems and books?  Would you mind giving us a peek of your desk or study where you settle your rear ends to sweat and spin magic?

This is where poet Robinson Jeffers worked.  A small, womb-like space on the ground floor of Hawk Tower.

A little cold and damp, I would think.

One of the best writing spaces I've seen of a long dead person is George Washington's Mount Vernon study.  Most historical places are dusty and feel--well, like a museum--very remote, but George Washington's room was alive and chockful of implements and leatherbound books.  It was as if you could still feel the temperature of his body-warmed recliners.


Please click here to see Youtube videos and gallery of my art work.




24 Comment count
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Tomorrow afternoon...

... after I get home from teaching, I'll take pictures of my workspace(s) and post them. Your space looks fabulous! (And your feet are beautiful.) But do you have a window?

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Yes, and it is screened

by foliage.  Not too much to distract me. If you wish to post in the body of your blog, you can upload your images to Snapfish and then copy & paste the image location (URL) into the designated space, which appears after you click the little tree icon.  You can do the same if you loaded the images into your gallery then cut and paste the URL  If you have questions, just email me.

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So that's how you do it! I wondered! Okay, sounds like a blog.

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I actually have a Comcast account that allows me to post my pictures, but I had an AHA moment about Snapfish for the rest of you who don't have an extra website.

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Hello dear Belle

Owing to a recent visit from my mother, my writing space is the tidiest it's ever been! I will photograph it and send it to you. But bear in mind, it's fictional!

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I've missed you. Yes, please do!

It can be your studio space, too.  Why not do your own post on your work space.  Ditto for everyone else.

I hope your mother approved of your cleanliness.

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book on writing spaces

hi belle:

my "day job" is actually working at an illustrated books publishing company and i really appreciate your idea. i'm on medical leave right now but kind of scouting out ideas while i'm away. is that something you'd be interested in pursuing further? i'd love to talk to you about it. i'm actually going into the hospital in a week and i'll be out of commission for a while. so i hope to hear from you soon! but if i disappear, that's why.

what illness did you have? i hope you don't mind me asking. i have colorectal cancer right now. that's why i'm going into the hospital.... for surgery. very optimistic and in very good spirits.

take care. hope to hear from you soon. by the way, did you attend comic con?



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I just sent you an email

about a friend who has survived the same and I would love to discuss with you when you get strong.  No, didn't attend; I think Comic Con would overwhelm me at this point, and--like it or not--when "Forget Sorrow" is out, I will be going fairly regularly.  Conventions are scary places.  I went once to the Book Expo when it was the ABA and it was crazy.

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My Office Space?!

Dear Belle, oh, Dear Belle, how many people do you want to frighten with a view of my office?! LOL It's piled high with all sorts of research material. The desk is overcrowded and the walls contain some of my awards, a few signed celeb photos, and assorted membership certificates. I finally ran out of energy for hanging all of the assorted "stuff." If I have the courage, I'll photograph it tomorrow. Scary. Just plain scary!


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Ooooooh! Can't

wait, Darlene.  The messier, the better.  xo

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Be Careful...

...what you wish for, Belle.... <wg>


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All the color

Your space is full of color and image, and I need some help.

Anyway, I posted a blog with my writing space, and here's the link:


So interesting, and I can't wait to see more folks stuff!


Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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Writing Space

Funny, I'd written something similar, about my writing space, a little while ago... with pictures, even...



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You must have sent

brain waves about your room.  What a coincidence!  Love your space with the cradle.

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office envy

Hey, Belle! I love your office! Thanks for inviting me to give you a look at my writing space. I'm such an itinerant these days, I'm having trouble figuring out how I would capture that in pictures -- I'm away from home at the moment, in fact -- but when I get back, I'll do my best to offer a glimpse or two.

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Stay tuned

I'll be posting mine soon too. :)

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I'm really

looking forward to seeing where "The Half-Red Sea" was created.

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Spaces with many faces


My in-home office, equipped with a large desk, computer, printer/scanner/fax machine, and good lighting, is more of a word processing and editing space;  I call editing UN-writing.

I write most of my poetry on location, meaning, for example, a bench in a park, sitting  in my parked car overlooking the beach, over coffee at a sidewalk café, in the museum gallery where my favorite painting hang (they have a bench there, too), etc.

I always carry a spiral-bound, dog-eared note book, I am on my  umpteenth one, and write in long-hand with a lot of scribbling in the margins.

Sometimes, when I pick up the mail, I write on the backs of envelopes. Later on, after opening and sorting my mail, I toss out the empty envelopes and, of course, all my notes are gone...

I tried several times to type a poem directly into a word file on my PC. I sat there, staring at the white screen, and not the slightest inspiration was forthcoming. My true writing space is mobile. I would have to take too many photos to document all of my inspirational haunts...  


Ana Elsner, poet

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Thanks, Ana

Lovely description of how you work and that your space is all around you.

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a belated response


I put up a small image gallery of photos you might still be interested to see. You can get there from this blog post. Thanks for asking!

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Don't Look!

Ack! Everyone has amazingly creative work spaces - I'm jealous! There is no way I'm taking a picture of my desk, especially today. It's cluttered with chocolate, Paris guidebooks, manuscript pages, outlines, quotes, paper clips, cookbooks, phone, lucky cat, promo catalogs, iPhone docking station, etc., etc., etc. And this is a small desk so everything is piled high, resulting in occasional spillage .

I have a great book about with photographs of famous writers and their workspaces. I need a larger advance to buy a small cabin on a lake (actually my dream is to get a small place in Volcano, HI, where I could go on weekends to get away and write.). Maybe my editor is listening ...

Fun post, Belle!

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Your desk is the kind of we want to see.  We want the real working desk that carries a hazmat sign over it!  So glad you are in Redroom.

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Love the first pic! So tidy

Love the first pic!

So tidy and good looking!

Must be easy to get inspired in enviroments like these!

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