April 29
As a kid, I wanted to be a doctor. "If you can see yourself doing anything else, do that," people told me very helpfully. Having been home schooled for 12 years, it never occurred to me to question authority. So I became a journalist instead, and was given the same career advice (but far, far less money than a doctor might have made. Thanks, guys.). After enduring a spectacularly mediocre five years in journalism, I dropped that -- and my premed courses -- and Became a Mommy. Luckily for my children, there are significant safeguards in place to prevent people from abandoning this particular career, so they're stuck with me. And now that I have an Open Salon blog, so are you. Ha!


Mamakaze's Links
JANUARY 2, 2011 5:33PM

Lschmoopie's Open Call: My "Writing" Space

Rate: 30 Flag

In an alternate world somewhere, I write at an antique desk in my own private space -- a well-worn, gently sunlit dormer with pale-green walls on the third floor of a century-old mansion, perhaps. Book ideas are neatly organized on bulletin boards (for I am a visual person) and a maid keeps my disorder in check (for I am also a very untidy person, but enjoy a clean space).

 Sadly, until I find a wormhole into this parallel universe, my current writing space will have to do. I use the word "writing" loosely, because more often than not I am curating kindergarten and preschool artwork, reading about TV shows I will never watch, posting pictures of my unruly brood of  hooligans on Facebook, or cursing at the cheating douchebags on iPhone Scrabble.

You would think I would also use some of this non-writing time to clean, but housework is something I only do when I'm angry or sad or when company is coming (which is something that makes me angry and sad, because I am an inhospitable hermit). I'm an easygoing gal, and my house is easygoing, too. 

My kids, on the other hand, are not easygoing. Paper is for ripping, buttons are for pushing, and wires are for pulling -- or better yet, biting. That is why I have encircled my desk with six squares of Superyard.

My computer may be the only machine with its own dog run

 My computer may be the only machine with its own dog run.

Neater, tidier readers may note that my desk is not particularly well-organized. I beg to disagree. I have separated my desk into sections. The left- and right-hand sides are for papers -- bank forms, medical information, phonics curricula, and dozens of especially well-colored princesses. The papers themselves may not be very well-organized, but they are, at least, separated from my other piles. In the center of the desk is the plate-and-napkin pile, which is taken to the kitchen at least once a month or when it becomes a matter of public health, whichever comes second. There is also the caffeine-decanter collection.


The sweet taste of guaranteed renal failure


Coke Zero is an essential part of my day. So is coffee. Because acquaintances are invariably scandalized by my 6-cup morning pot of coffee, I have limited myself to one or two cups a day in the new year. (Thank heaven for 24-oz protein shake cups.)

You may notice, amid my collection of caffeine paraphernalia, a sunscreen bottle. And you are probably aware that it is January in Canada. Don't worry, I don't drink sunscreen. But should I re-enter the work force, it will most assuredly not be as a professional organizer.

While I am chugging gallons of coffee and ignoring housework and pecking away at Frontierville my novel, I can keep an eye on the playroom. Pictures don't really do the room justice, as one cannot capture noise in a photograph.

Then again, neither can one capture blood pressure in video. You really just have to be there.

Have you been wondering why most of my OS posts occur around midnight Pacific time? Wonder no more. Do not be fooled by the princess costumes. They are about to act out American Gladiators with hobby horses.


WWE with tutus.


 Between my children's squealing and pooping and poking of eyes with princess wands, and the contamination of my story ideas with spilled coffee and nacho cheese, and the infuriating use of word-building software by Scrabble opponents whose profile pictures include abdominal muscle portraiture and the implication of copious hair gel, I think it is now clear why I put quotes around the word "writing" in my title. 

One day, I will have my own little room -- a calm, Zenlike space free of clutter and noise where I can pen brilliant, prizewinning works. But for now, I have my piles of snacking and caffeine detritus, and toy trucks placed strategically around my cage writing nook to kill me keep me on my toes.

 And also, I have drag-clad babies to extricate from Lego bins.


Hell on heels
But that's not to say no writing gets done in our basement playroom. There are a few odd OS posts tapped out during naps or between the kids' bedtime and mine, and my frequent coffee-related Facebook status updates. Some 6,000 words of a novel are gathering virtual dust on my hard drive, and 22 Firefox tabs contain "research" for my "book."
Mostly, though, the writing in my space looks a lot like this:
My kid is writing circles around me.
And I'm OK with that for now. Baby boys in full drag, Barbie Ultimate Fighting and daughters who love their moms only last so long. Perhaps my "parallel universe" is but a decade away.

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humor, open call, writing

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i'm astonished that you can get anything done. but then i wouldn't have even blinked at the stuff and the noise several decades ago when i did it, too. great space. love the fence around your desk - had me laughing for minutes. great piece.
This is the greatest. I see all these neat places and freak. I am doing 100 things at once, I am not neat. I do not know how you do it either but the last note says it all..
wow... I miss tiny kids.
rated with 2011 hugs
I love your office, especially the fence around it. Just remember that some day very soon you will miss all of this. -R-
hahaha :D your desk being surrounded with gates for some reason is just cracking me up.
You are a lucky woman.
Loved,loved,loved your response to my OC. But the best part was your gated desk area. That really says it all. Two thumbs up for even attempting writing with small kids. I didn't start until 6 months ago ( master's degree doesn't count) . And my "babies" are 31 & 28.
Being the mother of six children (all grown now) I can offer up profound admiration for your efforts!

Wonderful post. I'm still waiting for my antique cherry desk! Right now the Staples one with fiberboard will have to do!

"Where no oxen [are], the crib [is] clean: but much increase [is] by the strength of the ox."
They (and you) might be on to something!
you've described my life
and yes, it'll go by too fast
The baby gate is brilliant...
That is what my place looked like until my kids became teenagers. Have fun with the little ones. They grow up all to fast!
This is simply wonderful - adorable and very funny. You'll be amazed how fast it has gone by.
I loved reading this, and the pictures, and the general chaos.
Ha! Every writer needs a fence around her office. And adorable kids in drag. Love it all...~r
They sure got a lot of toys for Christmas!

Oh you are so brilliant, I never would have thought to fence myself in...r
The fence cracked me up - and took me a back a few years. Enjoy them now; soon they will be much more manageable...
Now this is the right perspective. It's only a decade away... and it flies. This is so precious MK, and I love your style, girl. Your mom kennel is kick ass!
What fun reading! When my two were that small, I couldn't write a word. If this is your writing now - in the middle of life with very small children - I definitely want to be informed when you're writing from that other universe.
I love that Superyard stuff. I want some for my granddaughter who crawls and eats every itty bitty thing she finds. You and I were both in Fantasyland for our dream work spaces. Very good post.
I need a fence like that to keep me at my desk. Good idea...
I love the fence, the Barbie Ultimate Fighting, the boy in's all so real and so funny. Amazing that you get as much done as you do. It's not easy creating amongst chaos. Rated while still laughing...
I think most of the OS writers should have cages around them.