copyright aaron paul lazar, 2011
I think I deserve it.
After a year of giving up my newly renovated antique house to my dear daughter, beloved-but-unemployed son-in-law, four grandkids, pregnant mother cat, one hormonally challenged male dog, and a still-chewing everything puppy… (while being unemployed myself during much of that time..)
After looking the other way when antiques were scratched, lamp cords were chewed off, couch skirts were peed on, satin fabric was clawed apart, our new Oriental rug was destroyed…
After having to search for a single fork in a sink full of dishes almost every day (“We’ll do them in the morning, Dad!”), dealing with a sore back from bending over a thousand times a day to pick up casually tossed cheese stick wrappers and toys, and wondering if I’d ever get into the laundry room to do laundry for my wife and me…
After all that – I think I deserve this new room of mine.
Okay, those of you who know me realize I’m exaggerating, because I adore my daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren, and animals. Since they moved out to their own lovely little Cape Cod just two miles down the road a month ago, I’ve been filled with conflicting with feelings of terrible despair-filled longings for their company... mixed with blessed relief. I call them constantly, with any little excuse. And I ache to see the kids every second of every day.
But there is a bright side to all this, and it’s the reclaiming of our home. It’s clean. Oh, is it clean. Organized. Tidy. Polished. Shiny. Dust-free.
This is the 200th anniversary of our 1811 house, and in the spirit of giving ourselves a little reward, I decided to redo the boys’ bedroom. We gave the kids all the furniture, anyway, so it made sense to change things around a bit.
I’ve never had a writing room. I’ve never had a home office. I never even had a corner of a room that could be mine, where I could write in quiet and focus on getting my characters into trouble, and finagle the plot so they could be saved again. I always had to clamp headphones over my ears to drown out the television, or get up at 4 AM to find some quiet time to write.
My usual typical writing spot is my comfy leather chair in our bedroom. It’s too close to the TV, though, and my wife enjoys have it on all the time. But I like to be with her, so I hang out in the bedroom in the evenings. But that means I'm always tuning out whatever sit-com blasts from the darn thing.
Sometimes, for an hour or so in the freezing cold dark winter mornings, I sit in the living room downstairs while the fire takes hold in the woodstove. But I'm often distracted by the need to let the dogs in and out, clean the cat pan, put a load in the washer or dryer, make my lunch for work, take out something to defrost for dinner, load up the wood rack by the woodstove, etc. You get my drift, all the usual pre-work morning stuff. So unless I got up, again, at 4 or 5 AM, I don’t get much time to focus on writing.
Okay, so all this is leading up to me trying not to feel guilty for spending too much money on what I’m calling my “zen* room”. It’s a romantic writing, reading, thinking, quiet room. I thought of my wife when I designed it, and have also referred to it as her “sitting room”, because I made it kinda girly-pretty and put her Keurig coffee maker in there.
I know, I know. You’d expect a guy to want a MAN cave, right? Something with lots of leather, dark wood, heavy curtains, beer posters, big screen TV, sports trophies, and the like. Well, I have something sort of like that in our living room already, with my nice dark antiques and brown leather couch and club chair. Ahem. Minus the beer posters and sports trophies.
But this time I departed from that model. I guess I figured I wouldn’t feel so guilty for spending the money if I designed it with my wife in mind.
So in spite of the fact that it’s kind of a feminine room, I must state that I consider myself a regular guy in some aspects. I love to do handyman projects around the house, can’t wait to play with the snowblower and lawn tractor, adore chopping down acres of brush and clearing land, and have a list a mile long of outdoor brick-laying type projects I can’t wait to start.
But I’m also a guy who loves some not-so-typical things. I’m a great deal like my character, Gus LeGarde, who is frequently referred to as a Renaissance man. Gus and I love antiques. We love Chopin. We love to cook. We love French Impressionist art. We love nature. We love to hike. And, we love to cross-country ski.
So, that was my lame attempt to prove to you that I really am a semi-regular guy in spite of how pretty this room is. Ha.
What inspired this? My hairdresser.
Yeah, really. The lady who cuts my hair was running late last month. She offered to let me sit in her new little new-age-comfy room with the water fountain and a foot bath. It was so darned comfortable I almost fell asleep several times, and I realized that I wanted one, too!
So, let me show you what I did over the past month.
I asked my wife what color walls she wanted, and she chose a pale, pale orange sherbet color. On an impulse, I checked out a Ruby Gordon’s annual half off sale, and found a cream-colored leather loveseat and comfy chair/ottoman in the clearance section. This sort of set the tone for the rest of the room, which really is quite romantic. (And DANG, is it relaxing and comfortable...)
I ordered this trickling wall mounted water fountain. Still waiting for a pump to be sent that isn't LOUDER than the trickling water sound, but it's enroute, so they say.
I found turquoise pillows and a throw at Pier One, a vase thingie that holds apple blossoms, or whatever fake things my wife my want to stick in them during the winter, and then I went nuts and ordered a glass lamp to match the turquoise color that had ended up being so prevalent in the room.
I haunted my favorite antique stores to find a perfect – I mean made for this room – antique lamp with the exact same colors that we’d already chosen.
I ordered a cherry wall cabinet to store some of my Young Living Essential Oils, an Aria oil diffuser to set the scene, a foot bath and all the good smelling stuff that goes with it, and some gorgeous photos from a wonderful photographer friend.
Here are a few images that will eventually be hanging over the loveseat and chair, in large format.
See how they miraculously match the room colors? It’s like it was meant to be.
It’s almost all put together. I’m waiting for the ottoman, so I can put up my feet while I write. The essential oil diffuser arrived yesterday, and I set it up this morning. My wife wanted curtains, so I got those last weekend – sheer, romantic type curtains. (I won’t dwell on the fact that my cat, one of the seven kittens my daughter’s cat had last year, keeps climbing up them and messing them up.) I’m waiting for the prints to frame and hang. And then, I’ll be ready to write in style. Wonder if my characters will have any more romance in the next few books? I do feel some love scenes coming on...
Here are a few shots of my writing room - a work in process
The "Aria" my new Young Living oil diffuser that also has soothing natural sounds and beautiful colors within its clear glass globe. Highly recommended! (and you'll know why when you read Essentially Yours, my fifteenth book scheduled for release early in 2012.)
One corner of the room that's pretty much "done."
This is where my wife sits when she joins me and reads on her Kindle.
And here's where I sit, minus the wall art that's coming. Like I said, pretty darned comfy.
And so, as the project comes to a close, it's just in time for the next adventure of either Gus LeGarde, Sam Moore, or Marcella Hollister. Haven’t decided what’s next yet, but I’m itching to start something new.
Tell us about your writing space. Do you have a home office, like Marta? Do you write on trains in a notebook, like our past MB4 colleague, Sonya? Do you send out emails from your iPhone, like Kim? We haven't yet heard about our new friend Ron's writing space, but I'm sure he'll weigh in!
Let us know how your characters emerge, because of, or in spite of, your writing space.
And by the way - Happy Valentines Day!
Do something extra special for your sweetheart today. You'll brighten up their day, and you'll feel all mushy inside. Who knows? It might inspire you. Maybe you'll end up with a girl-cave all your own.
Aaron Paul Lazar
*Zen – a teaching that contemplation of one's essential nature to the exclusion of all else is the only way of achieving pure enlightenment.