I’m wearing a black tank top, black and turquoise striped boy shorts and my hair is madness as the sun beams thru the skylights. It’s bright, real bright, and the A/C is on. Everything is white, bright white, and nothing hangs on the walls because the sightlines are too fierce; art would not comfort, it would disturb.
The roof slants over my head at a thirty degree angle and I sit behind my desk, facing into the room like I am captain of a ship. My desk is black, wood, unembellished but for a few piles of books that I will review sooner or later or later I am sure. I keep a day planner on the desk and a juicy pen and in the planner I record little things like what I eat, what I write, where I go, who I see, and sometimes what I dream. My scarab and my snake rest upon the Moriyama book and I know I should put them away, but I haven’t. I won’t.
Behind me is a built-in ledge upon which I stack a few books, things I am reading now and may or may not keep. There are only two that are on permanent display; they are American Prayer by Richard Prince, which I have as yet to read, and a tiny Frida Kahlo catalogue that I have purchased twice in the past year.
And it is on this ledge that I have one piece of art of display, a five by seven from Danny Lyon, the classic Bikeriders photograph in white matte, white frame. Can you imagine? It’s so rare, so very rare, to receive this kind of gift. There are three other people who have been unduly generous in showing their love, and for this, I could never say enough.
The room is pretty empty. There’s a charming little sofa of moss green that is covered by a sheet as it sits beneath the skylights. Upon it I have fallen asleep, only to be awakened under the stars and moon in the middle of the night. It is perched in front of a wall about three and a half feet high that blocks off the stairs into my private little life. On the far wall is the ladder to the roof and on the floor, opposite my desk, my magic mirror is perched. It’s tilted so that I cannot see anything while I sit, but when I stand, there’s this thing, it’s kinda hard to describe.
In the middle of a sea of charcoal grey carpeting, there is a second skylight. It is built into the floor. It is a grid of translucent glass and it catches rays from the sky and shares them with the people who own the house and work in the office below my desk. When it is night and the room is dark, and someone is working in the office below, the skylight on the floor is lit like Saturday Night Fever, or Palladium, ya dig. It’s the coolest thing, this tiny landing strip on which I dance.
About half the room is given over to two large closets as the roof keeps sloping all the way down, and in the middle of those two closets is a tiny passageway to the library. The library is amazing. It is a little cul de sac of built-in bookcases with a step so that I can sit there and read underneath the window that can barely be seen at street level. I am forever making the library a place of perfection so that each and every book has deep personal meaning in my life.
There is a second room in the apartment. It is my bedroom. It is like, well, have you ever gone to a boutique hotel and wanted to live there? Yes. I am that girl. I’ve always wanted a home that makes me feel like I’m in another world. The room has two windows on the garden, where the wind chimes tinkle and the birds fly and flutter and I hear this mad THUMP when The Cat hurls herself against the window, so very hard at work.
In between the windows there is a bookshelf; it was the first piece of furniture I ever bought. It is five feet high, two feet wide, and a foot and a half deep. It’s perfect for oversized, lavish and luxurious art books (because I will never own a coffee table). But I’ve turned the bookcase into a display case for my tarot cards, hair ornaments, and collection of Chanel parfums. I keep my favorite books on the bottom shelf, my reference volumes of spiritual guidance that I am apt to take when I have a train ride ahead.
Beside the bookcase is a chair that matches the one behind my desk. It is a thing of pure beauty. I went through a phase where I bought furniture as sculpture; I also have this demi-lune dining room table that I never touch. And just like the table, I never sit in the chair. I can’t explain it. Some things are too beautiful. But I don’t care that The Cat’s got it now. Clearly she has greater concerns than the aesthetics of her world.
The bed is simple and plain and has the quietest Marimekko bedding I could find, just white with an overlay cherry blossom print in grey, moss, and white. I have two pillows and a sculpted green velvet dinosaur that is perched on the headboard, less an aesthetic decision than a means to keep The Cat from playing her very dirty trick on me.
Above my bed hags a dreamcatcher, very subtle and understated. It is the only thing hung on the wall in the entire apartment. Beside my bed is this little table that reminds me of the eighteenth century and it has butterflies in gold and bronze swirling here and there, and upon these butterflies I keep three books closest to my heart.
I have two computers. My desktop sits upon my desk and my laptop sits inside a desk drawer. I use exclusively it to write the novel or watch Downton Abbey in my bed. Last summer my thirteen inch Mac went kaput and I got this new desktop and it’s ridiculous. I’m hookt. I’d like to get off it but I don’t want to get off it. It gets me off. I awake every morning and I blog blog blog.
I write for release, for freedom, for peace. I show up every day and I investigate, ummm, me. I’ve always felt I was my own science project. Now, I am my own work of art. That’s always been my dream. Not to be an artist. To be an artwork. Because I objectify. I mean, I didn’t even know. The first definition of objectify is to think of or represent an idea or emotion as if it were something that actually exists. I feel like .. I do this every moment of my life.
All of this goes somewhere. It goes to this. Day Twenty Nine of Thirty is here. Penultimate, for someone else. I’ve discovered that this process has given me focus in a way I would have never otherwise known. Not only focus but a space to discover, so I’ve decided to go round the wheel once more. But this time, I’ll take out the questions that do not pertain to my life and add in new questions that help me develop my voice.
So yes, today: What do you do while you write? Do you listen to music, watch TV, eat snacks, etc?
Can I just say:
(Dave Chappelle doinn Lil Jon voice)
C’mon now. I can’t do anything else. I’m fully focused, fully present, writing is my meditation. How strange. But it works. I tune out by honing in and somehow by focusing my mind on the flow of words, everything else falls away. I am never so present as when I am in this state (except for a few other things of which I will not name).
I can’t even be that person who goes to a coffee shop to write. All that ambient noise, distractions, ohmagosh I would lose my mind. The only thing I hear is the low hum of the A/C and a bird outside my window and The Cat chirping, When will you have time for meeee (she gets jealous when I write. Also when I look in the mirror. But she loves when I do yoga. It’s her favorite thing ever.)
I could never watch TV or listen to music or put food in my mouth. I have to turn off the phone and the email. No interruptions. No distractions. I can’t multitask. And me, I used to be really good at tuning out all kinds of drama, bullshit, and ugliness.
But no. I have no filter anymore. Zero tolerance. I cannot endure the misery of other people’s lives. Which is not to say I’m not compassionate. Only to say, I hold myself to a higher standard today. And that feels all kindsa nice.