Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Where Do You Write?

I had to go down to Tempe to meet with the Arizona State folks about an project I'm writing for them (a curriculum package to teach basic meteorology, for the curious). While I was on campus, I decided I'd stop by to see the "Virgina Piper Center for Creative Writing" that ASU recently established. The center is housed in the "Virginia Piper Writers House," which is the converted President's Cottage that was built in 1907. It's a quaint little house, stuck right in the middle of the ultra-modern architecture of the science section of campus. As I was walking by, I was thinking that it would be cool to have a house like this to write in. The house is filled with little cozy corners with bay windows. I could totally see myself curling up here (preferably with the AlphaSmart keyboard I just ordered from eBay) and getting lots of writing done.

Unfortunately, the house doesn't really seem to be for writers to congregate and write. There is a sign on the door saying it is all offices and classrooms and that tours are only given on Thursdays at 10 AM. The sign gave the impression that a lot of curious wanderers had shown up asking for impromptu tours. The only writers welcome in the house are apparently the staff and the visiting "writers-in-residence." Ah well. Still, it's on the National Register of Historic Places (Robert Frost visited there a few times, for example), so I may go down for the tour at some point. I gave up my office in the Space Flight Facility on campus, and I had briefly entertained the idea of making Piper House my "home away from home" when I had to go down to Tempe (about an hour's drive from here), but it looks like that's not meant to be. It's too bad, really.

Now that my comps exam is done, I feel like I can start going out of the house to write. With the AlphaSmart and its near-infinite battery power and no-boot, instant-on abilities, I feel like I really can write anywhere. I'm going to be scouting out some likely spots in the near future. Places like Borders and Starbucks are classic places to write, but they are much too visually noisy for me. Imagine trying to work in a crowded and banging high school cafeteria, and that will give you an idea of what it's like for me in these places. Still, I'm sure I'll find a number of places that can serve when I need to get out of the house and work. Freedom to work anywhere is one of the big draws to writing full time, after all...

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