Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My writing room


I've had requests for a peek at my writing room, but I've always said no, generally because it is often quite messy. But since I cleaned it up so that my daughter could film me in that setting... here goes. Now don't expect an 1808 house to be level (well, this room is in a Victorian-era addition.) The wallpaper was chosen by a little girl who seems to have been quite fond of nails, as I had to pull about a hundred of the things out of the wall. So don't blame me for the girly wallpaper! Well, you may blame me for being lazy and not pulling it down...


What you can find, if you look closer:

1.  A Welsh tea towel with the Welsh dragon that Clare Dudman gave me the day we went to Castle Powis with Dave Bonta.


2.  A carved black bird that my husband gave me after The Curse of the Raven Mocker came out.


3.  Wade fairy tale figures from Red Rose Tea in a cabinet. And  more Red Rose tea figures--once you have a fairy tale set, people give you more...


4.  Art by my children when they were little, including: a big framed naked lady centaur with baby centaurs by my daughter; a mercury glass bottle made by my eldest son; an Egyptian box made by my younger son. Etcetera.


5. Funeral parlor fans from Georgia.


6.  A pair of wooden doves that my husband gave me when Ingledove appeared.


7.  Aberystwyth beach stones and netsuke.


8.  I have some originals of book covers elsewhere, but you can find images by various people who have either contributed artwork to my books or else published me in magazines: Steve Cieslawski, Clive Hicks-Jenkins, James A. Owen (that's the signed black-and-white print), and Renato Alarcao. And there's a broadsheet by poet Jeffery Beam.



9.  An 1875 sampler--I have some others elsewhere, but I thought that I needed at least one alphabet on the wall...


10. Litera Scripta Manet.  And much more, if you have a Where's Waldo? sensibility.









25 comments:

  1. As the facebookians have pointed out, my laptop is missing. Toshba the misbehaving Toshiba hould be in front of the printer, but she had migrated into my bedroom--in fact, onto my bed. Just pretend it's there on the table.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, what a lot of books and treasures, hardly room for a body but much inspiration for a writer's soul! And I like the wallpaper.

    ReplyDelete
  3. marja-leena,

    Now I feel quite justified in being lazy! It is a bit crowded. That low big bookcase that takes up so much room is actually Shaker shelving that once belonged to Daniel Patrick Moynihan... picked up at an auction.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gryphon (in red) in photo #4?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi there, Anonymous--

    I believe you mean the fifth picture, in which you can see a Welsh tea towel displaying Y Ddraig Goch, or the red dragon. The towel is a reproduction of the Welsh flag. If you go for a walk in a Welsh town, you see any number of Welsh dragons, not just on tourist gimcracks but on pub signs and trucks and flags.

    People claim that the red dragon was the battle standard for all sorts of ancient Celts, including Arthur (son of Uther Pendragon!) So it's a highly Romantic image for a flag.

    The red dragon is in the "Mabinogion," too, and is linked to Emris/Emrys/Myrrdin Emrys/Merlin through prophecy in it and elsewhere. Just looked to see when it first appeared: the "Historia Brittonum" refers to the red dragon as a symbol of Wales around the year 820.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Marly-

    after seeing your inner sanctum I can truly say you are definitely a kindred spirit. I would feel completely comfortable sitting in a corner on your floor babbling on about what ever and then you wouldn't get anything done! better keep the door closed ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Susanna, that would be quite jolly. You are welcome to perch!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh my. What a joy to see your room, such much, not surprisingly, like mine. A haven, a coven, an Alexandria.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well. You can see what a dopey digital world person I am. I didn't mean to leave an anonymous comment.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jeffery,

    We are nesting birds, no doubt!

    ReplyDelete
  11. P. S. to Jeffery: no merit in not being a dopey digital person! You could send me pictures of your room now... And I could post them. That would be interesting!

    Sigh. Must drive to Bard before the day is over. I may be one but don't like driving there quite so often.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would have imagined such a lair for you. It is crowded and busy, an outward extension of your mind. Mine is just plain messy and I'm afraid not that aesthetically pleasing, since I lack the many curious objets d'art you have amassed.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My, what an eye-opener. It's definitely a Marly-den. All those books. I'd be in seventh heaven and would sit cross-legged on the floor getting under your feet for days at a time. You have been warned!

    Aberystwyth beach-pebbles. How sweet!

    ReplyDelete
  14. In which Gary replies to Marly's work-area pictures with his own in a premeditated attempt to start an internet meme.

    http://6by7reports.com/blog/2011/10/24/my-work-area/

    ReplyDelete
  15. Robbi,

    Oh, there's not much of monetary value there--a lot of souvenirs of children, little reproductions, a lot of sentimental things like my great-grandmother's Chinese checkers board. I'm just a magpie and like to put glitter in my nest.

    The only piece that would count as an original (other than children's artwork) is a limited edition print that James A. Owen sent me. Oh, and paintings by one of my mother's much older brothers, mostly done when he was a teenager. I salvaged them, along with a lot of painted canvas squares meant for fire screens. I think my favorite one is an angelic child with oversize lilies in her arms and an absolute failure to finished the ankle that should connect a foot-in-shoe to leg under the gown.

    It would be fun to have the paintings made for my books in the writing room, but then nobody but me would see them! I do have two... and a photograph that's on the rear side of the jacket of my first book.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Clive,

    People who do get to come in the door play with those pebbles. My miniature beach.

    I used to have many more books but had to get rid of 25 boxes of them one time--couldn't manage to move everything. I will probably prune some time again because I have a lot that I started and couldn't finish (getting older and more impatient, I suppose.) I love having books of poetry and stories particularly.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ah, Gary, I expect to go see many wonderful doodles and toys and surprising things. More sleek, though. More technologically savvy.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That's only 1/2 of one of my spaces... G

    ReplyDelete
  19. Feel free to show the rest! Liked all the arrows and comments...

    ReplyDelete
  20. By the way, I think that wallpaper perfectly suits your assortment, which is as closely grained and detailed as the paper itself.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Okay, now I feel fully justified in not ripping it down!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ha, glad to see that dragon has found a good home! It looks good there, perfectly at home, I'd say. I too like the wallpaper, the books, the space - a wonderfully inspiring place to work.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Good morning, Clare!

    Been up for a while, helping somebody get going with leftover schoolwork...

    Glad you like my little burrow. As is no doubt horribly appropriate to a writer who is a mother, it is right next door to the laundry room!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Late to the party but what a magical place, of course. Even the dolly mixture wallpaper seems to fit in happily in the end!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Lucy,

    It always a had a bit of edginess, what with the jillions of nails driven into it! After that I made an effort to lessen it by covering it up--easier than actually stripping the paper. I'm not an energetic renovator...

    Glad you liked my nest.

    ReplyDelete

Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.