This week in Writing Spaces, we take a look at the working space of Kerry Clare, author of “Happy Trails” in Issue #146.
Ten years ago we moved into our apartment, and I set up an office space that was literally a garret—as a writer, it made me feel very legit. And for a while I even worked there, except that it was barely insulated and unheated, so it was freezing in the winter and sweltering in the summer. And then not long after that, I had a baby, and the garret ceased to be my writing place, and become a space to store baby clothes instead. Which sounds like the saddest story—“the pram in the hall,” and all that—but it isn’t. The thing I discovered about working in a garret once my daughter was born was that I didn’t want a room of my own, or at least not a literal one. The garret was either too hot or too cold, but it was also always too quiet and lonely.
In 2013, I had my second child, and suddenly my writing life kicked off in earnest. The timing in some ways was a coincidence, but not entirely. The years between my babies had been a kind of limbo, writing-wise, but when the second arrived I knew my baby-having days were over and it was time to get to work. Plus I had a book coming out the next year, an anthology of essays about motherhood, The M Word, a book I edited while lying on my couch while the baby napped on my chest, and that couch—its west corner in particular—became my office after that. The following summer the baby could nap in her crib, and I wrote my novel, Mitzi Bytes, while sitting on the couch while my eldest daughter sat beside me watching Annie.
One problem with the couch though was that it was just too far from the kettle. And so at some point, probably around when my second daughter started going to pre-school, I started working in the kitchen. We had a gorgeous oak table made for us a couple of years ago, and the fact of its solidity is significant to me for so many reasons. I love the wood grains, the smoothness of the surface, and all the space available as I spread my books and papers all around. I also love the way the sun shines in from the south-facing windows around lunch time during the winter months, so much light, and warmth, and the way that I’ve learned I don’t even have to look at the clock but can map the day by where the light falls. And by how many pots of tea I’ve brewed since the morning.
We’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look into the writing process – straight from the desks of our contributors! Check out the full series here.