Writing Particulars

My favorite corner at my weekend writing spot—which I’ve started to use a couple mornings a week, too—it’s been compromised. My corner has been taken over by a new member. The corner is made of two desks away from the wall of windows, so it’s nice and dim. The two desks face in opposite directions, so though you may be sitting close to another writer, you have your backs to each other, so it feels more private than it sounds. I love writing in the dark, or in some semblance of it, so I like sitting there. But this new person has dragged a standing lamp over there and turns it on full-blast, completely illuminating the two desks—including the one she’s not sitting at. I’m afraid she’s going to be here again this morning so I’ve chosen to sit somewhere else.

I was outlining in my head all the things I could say to her: “Do you really need that lamp?” (There’s already a lamp on the desk.) “Are you trying to blind me?” “I was here first!” “Could you please move somewhere else?” But confrontation stresses me out, and I find myself wanting to avoid the whole issue by sitting in a new place on the off-chance she even shows up this morning.

I am so. very. passive. It annoys me.

I’ll probably sit in my favorite spot on Saturday, so I’ll have to nicely, sweetly, pathetically say something to her then. I’ll avoid it until the weekend, until the moment she returns and switches on that lamp.

Light is one of my biggest issues. I can sit writing in the middle of a café with noise all around me, just as long as there isn’t a bright light on me or my computer screen. I feel more creative in the dark, so much so that I long to be a night writer so I could make use of it. Sometimes I write with a black scarf pulled over my head—that must look strange.

In public, I must sit with my back to a wall.

I can’t write with any proximity to a television set, even if it’s off.

I can’t write in places that have been tainted by work—I could not close my door during lunch and write in my office. I can’t have day-job thoughts invading my page.

So, how about you… What sets you off? Where can you write and where can’t you? And, now that I have you here, what should I say to the writer with the big bright lamp?!

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