Where I Write

My friend, writer Beth Kanell, solicited this entry for The Vermont Bookshelf. Thought I’d post it here, as well, for those interested in knowing “where the magic happens”:

stahlerwritingroom3My office is a sun-porch off the back of our house that we winterized a few years ago. Six windows fill it with light. It looks out across the backyard toward the pond–a beautiful setting that sometimes distracts with its little dramas: the deer, turkeys, foxes, moose, and bear that come wandering through; the owl that’s taken to paying weekly afternoon visits; the herons, kingfishers, mink, and even osprey that are drawn to the pond’s fish; five different species of ducks and so many more varieties of songbirds–all welcome distractions.

stahlerwritingroom2My writing desk is a small oak table from quite a few generations back–nothing fancy. I have a file cabinet to my left and another small table to the right for the jatoba chest that holds my Scottish smallpipes. I take them out to play from time to time when I need a break. A collection of knickknacks lines the window sill above my laptop–a green beer bottle, a statue of the Greek muse of poetry my mother brought me from the Getty, a ceramic jar a friend made me, spent cartridges from deer I’ve taken in hunting season, a smooth stone, two statues of Shakespeare, figurines of an elephant and a frog reading a book–little totems that found a place at one time, then settled in to stay.

Bookshelves line the opposite wall. Guitars, a mandolin, Irish whistles, amplifiers, stacks of boardgames fill the rest of the space. I love my office, my refuge. I keep it tidy. I don’t listen to music when I write–I need silence to think. I don’t know if I could work without a room to myself. Perhaps I could write perfectly well somewhere else, but I’m perfectly content not to find out.