I remember one winter’s eve when I was writer-in-residence at Interlochen Arts Academy a couple of months after September 11, 2001, and I was in the backseat of a colleague’s Subaru as we headed across snowy landscapes to a restaurant on one of the many small lakes up north in Michigan. All that snow and all that dark, dark sky made the houses, few and far between, loom up from the shadows, their windows bright and glowing from the lights within. And as we passed, I looked in each of them, saw husbands and wives sitting in reclining chairs staring at a television set bringing that time’s bad news from the world. I saw an old man with a messy ring of white hair dressed in a flannel robe sitting by himself at a kitchen table, his face tilted towards a big bowl of something. I saw children reading and children playing video games. I saw empty rooms. And despite the cold and the snow-covered earth and the bleak blackness of the sky and the knowledge that things out there, out in the world beyond the warmth of the Subaru, were a bit out of our–of my–control, I found comfort in these quick, bright glimpses of the lives of others.
I’m in the city now, and at night walking or driving or sitting in my third floor apartment with a unique view of this Chicago neighborhood, I continue to look towards the windows of light, to see what art my neighbors hang on their walls, what is playing on their absurdly wide-screen television sets, where their cats like to sit, what they wear in the evenings, who still has Christmas decorations up (it is, after all, April, folks!) I am drawn to and enamored with these surroundings not my own.
And so, it is in that spirit of voyeurism, maybe, that I invite you, my writerly friends, to submit to me a picture of your writing space. I’ll call this segment of the blog “View From the Keyboard,” but know that I am not limiting submissions to those of you who write on a keyboard. Whatever space you write in, whatever tools you use to write, whatever trinkets or photos or books or animals or libations, etc., you surround yourself with can be part of your photo. I’d also like to know what you are writing. And once I start to gather these submissions, I will begin to post them now and again, and share your spaces and your writing with others as well.
- Take a photo of your writing space (with or without you in it.)
- Write a brief description/explanation of this space. Say whatever you want about it. Some ideas–why this space? What little thing here inspires you? What can’t we see in the photo? How much time do you spend there? What time of day do you write? And so on. You get the idea.
- Submit–if you are willing–no more than 250 words of something you have written in this space.
- Self-promote anything you might want to here. Website? Publications? Etc.
- Make sure to let me know how to contact you in return.
- Send jpeg of photo. Cut and paste text into an email. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
- In your email, please put the words “I agree to let Patricia McNair edit this submission for publication on her website/blog.” And don’t submit if you don’t agree to this. I will respect your work and your words as best I can.
The What Next:
- Be patient. I will respond as soon as I can. I am hoping to use each submission I get, but may have to discriminate along the way depending on number of submissions and their appropriateness.
- I will contact you if I use your submission on my blog, but may post it before you receive and respond to the notification (see #7 above.)
- Check back regularly to see what others are posting. Share the site with friends. Expand this community of writers.
- Thanks in advance to everyone who participates in any way, either by submitting, reading, or sharing. Looking forward to hearing from you!