This week in Writing Spaces, we take a look at the working space of Wayne Yetman, author of “Acorns” in Issue #146.
There’s no need to show you my actual desk. I like a stark desk in a stark office. I can write almost anywhere providing I can close the door and no one else is around.
Most of my initial drafts are done in San Miguel de Allende, a picturesque mountain city/town north of Mexico City where my wife, Joanne, and I spend our winters and where we have far fewer responsibilities than at home. Joanne goes to the gym each morning and I wrestle with the laptop for several hours. The rest of the year I mainly edit what I brought into being in San Miguel.
San Miguel is an outstanding base for a writer. It’s the genuine thing — an historic Spanish enclave centred on a manicured garden square (Jardin) facing the community’s pride, it’s soaring cathedral, the Parroquia. Everywhere you turn there are awesome photo opportunities and friendly Mexican people. American/Canadian ex-pats discovered it long ago and have nurtured a vibrant English-speaking artistic scene which includes an active writing salon and an annual International Writers’ Conference. We rent in Cinco Flores (Five Flowers), a cozy set of five apartments just metres from the Parroquia.
Which brings me to my bed. I’ll bet you couldn’t care less about my bed. Stick with me — this is a magical bed. I have no plan, no agenda, no theme when I write. I dig up a few words of dialogue or a hint of a scene from my electronic Idea Bank, and nose my way forward from there. The result is a lot of failed stories and a few that seem to meet the mark.
“Acorns,” the story most recently in TNQ 146, started just this way. Joanne had mentioned a quirky notion about the oak tree outside our Georgian Bay cottage and I tapped out what I thought was a decent thousand words with an intriguing protagonist. Then everything collapsed. I had no idea where to go with it. Months went by.
One morning around 2:00 a.m. I woke up in this very bed, seized with the notion that there had to be a girl/woman visitor and she had to be a lesbian. This was to be a sex story with no sex. But something more. I lay there mapping out all the dialogue and events that followed, snuck out of bed to scribble some notes, and typed it up in a whirl the next morning. This is one of rare times I have had a complete vision without being at the computer. I knew the story was good so I sent it to TNQ first. Fortunately, the readers there agreed.
That is why I treasure this bed. Every night I crawl in hoping for a similar kiss of insight. The sooner the better. Please. Meanwhile every morning I go to my stark desk in my stark office and pound the keyboard. Just in case.
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.