Sep 16, 2009

Ru Freeman's Writing Space

As part of the TLC Book Tour for Ru Freeman's debut A Disobedient Girl (Click on the link for my review), Savvy Verse & Wit got her to talk about her writing space or should I say spaces.

Without further ado, please welcome Ru to Savvy Verse & Wit.

I should have known better than to say I would write a guest post about my writing space, considering that I write everywhere! I used to believe in the absolute necessity of a "room of ones own" in order to write, until I discovered that the real space that any writer needs is inside ones own head.

No perfect vista, no clear surface, no computer or quill really has the power to draw an idea forth if the writer herself has not cleared room in her mind for the work at hand.

I realized that I wrote everywhere. In my car when I am a passenger and sometimes – shh! – when I was driving; but only at stop lights. I wrote while waiting for one of my daughters to get ballet out of her system. I wrote while the same daughter took her piano lessons. In fact, a few good short stories and the end of this novel was written in those half hour bursts when I had to sit at the Bryn Mawr Conservatory of Music, waiting, waiting.

Some of the time I write without writing at all.

I "write" as I absorb the things that are happening around me, tucking away details that strike me
in some corner of my brain, trusting that they will come forth and report for duty when the need arises down the line!

Other times, I jot down a thought on a scrap of paper – the usual bills and sundry lists
and paraphernalia that stick to women in particular like we are comprised of a magnetic substance particularly attractive to such things – and stash it in an old cigar box that I picked up for the sweet price of $1.50 at the store down the street.

I confess that there was a time when I insisted upon a separate space for my writing.

The reason for that lay not so much in my need for a place to set up my computer and associated totems, but rather that I needed the other people in the house – primarily daughters – to recognize that I was "working" and that I had a "work space," which was impregnable and sacred.

This was more a fantasy than a reality; children do not take kindly to existing in the margins and the heart of a mother is far too permeable to allow them to do so anyway! But it did help that there was a specific place I could go to, where I could say, this is my room, my study.

Now, in a much more chaotic household in Philadelphia, where I live the life of a juggler who gives a fairly good imitation of being proficient at the task, I travel to various places with my computer. To the dining table, in my bedroom, to the couch downstairs, and the car. What I take is an image of serenity, the memory of a place that has meant everything to me in terms of affirming my writing life: a screensaver which depicts the Bread Loaf campus. This alone is enough.

Check out a photo gallery of Sri Lanka. Please also check out Ru Freeman's blog and this video with Ru Freeman.

I also have a guest post over at Ru's blog. Check out my post on writing and photography.

And of course, my review of A Disobedient Girl.

In honor of this being my 600th Post and Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I'm going to giveaway my gently used copy of A Disobedient Girl to anyone in the world.

1. Leave a comment and tell me what your "private" space looks like where you go to relax and read.

2. Tweet, blog, Facebook, or what have you to spread the word for another entry.

3. Remember, this week only I'm offering 5 additional entries for those who purchase books through my Affiliate links. All you have to do is email me an invoice or order #.

4. Comment on the Review for another entry as well.

5. Leave a comment on my guest post at Ru Freeman's blog for another entry.

Deadline is Sept. 19, 2009, at 11:59 PM


Clarence Young said...

Nobody ever admits they do their best writing in the bathroom. Being genteel, there's no need to elaborate on activities beyond the work. Bathroom writing is the closest to being in some kind of Paddy Chayefsky 'Altered State' isolation chamber. Characters exist there fully realized and unashamed, bounding about the walls and tooth brushes like the freed Neanderthal that lives inside all of us. It's quiet in the bathroom until people begin to look for you, and even then you're safe from interruption (assuming you live in a 2-bath domicile) because you're in a bathroom. What kind of lowlife scum is going to burst in and risk that kind of emotional scarring? Granted that writing is a hobo's activity--and my hobo pack of tools travels extensively (mostly pen--I am the last person in America without a laptop, owing to the fact that I'm pretty much broke—send your gently used laptop to…)--but the pristine clarity of bathroom thoughts (different from and yet somehow the same as just-woke-up thoughts) means that, should my writing ever take off, my first dedication will properly thank Johnny On The Spot first, my wife second, and my highly tolerant Muse goddess third. I would love to write in my office but as that generally surreptitiously occurs at work, I make do with the small, quiet space outside my bathroom that welcomes me pretty much every day.

Clarence Young said...

...that anybody who writes with the clarity of polished glass like Ru Freeman does is always welcome to contact me at or There's nothing better than inhaling some good writing from someone far, far, far away.

bermudaonion said...

Since there's only two of us here, I don't have to work too hard at getting private space. I love to read on the front porch, but that's not very private, so I'll say curled up in bed. milou2ster(at)

Dorte H said...

Like Ru, I only need my laptop and a seat in order to write, or a book and a corner somewhere (or a nice bed to lie on) to be able to read. My daughters´ TV series do disturb me now and then, however. (at)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hey, babe. Thanks for the e-mail. I'm impressed with Ms. Freeman; she might be my doppelganger, at least in thought.

Anyway, no need to enter me, like usual (stupid TBR). I'm letting you know this is up at Win a Book.

Clarence Young said...

Me, I'd love to win a copy of Ms. Freeman's book. I'd also love to financially support her via purchasing said book, but I'm still broke. I will most definitely support my fellow writers in all ways until solvency returns or Lehman Bros. does right by me.

ccqdesigns said...

I have a wonderful oversized chair and ottoman I picked up at a garage sale tucked in the corner of my bedroom next to a large window looking out into the woods. I curl up there, with my quilt, the AC turned down to ice, and my two chihuahuas in my lap and read for hours. Of course, I don't think anyone can come close to Clarence's story.

rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

ccqdesigns said...

I am a follower on google reader,

and here is a tweet!

rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

beastmomma said...

Please enter me in the contest. My email is beastmomma(at)gmail(dot)com
My favorite place to write/work is the couch in the living room. I also enjoy writing in the computer lab at school.

Pam said...

I'm very jealous, ccq - I wish I had such a space. With a 3 yr. old and a 6 month old, a "private" space is unheard of in my life. Heck, even the bathroom is no longer private for any of my activities! Our new house, though, has a space that will one day be my private reading space. It's a room down a few stairs from the kitchen and has a gas fireplace with built-in bookcases on either side and a patio door to our gorgeous new deck. In a couple of years when the kids are older and we've found the money to purchase the furniture we really want for that space, then that will be mine - all mine...Til then, I dream of privacy and read a few pages at a time whenever I can...

melacan at hotmail dot com

Pam said...

I commented on your review. I really hope I win, but if I don't, I will still be adding this book to my evergrowing wish list!

melacan at hotmail dot com

Pam said...

I commented on your post at Ru Freeman's blog as well - excellent, inspiring post. Thank you.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Sue said...

I have a big leather chair with an accompanying ottoman in the corner of my living room. My bookshelves are right next to it with windows above and the best light in my whole house. A quilt my mother-in-law made me hangs over the back of the chair. I love that corner. Sometimes my kids don't even notice me sitting there when I really get a quiet moment. :)
Thanks for the giveaway.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

J.T. Oldfield said...

Technically I have a home office, but I tend to write on the couch or in bed. ;)

Thanks for hosting this give away!


Alyce said...

I do most of my reading in the living room, trying to block out all of the noise around me (animals, kids watching tv, husband watching football). I don't really have a space that I go to in the house to read or write that is just mine.

I did find a couple of weeks ago that there is this lovely cafe that just opened about six blocks from here. It is in an old two story house, and I was able to choose a room to myself, spread out my books and have coffee and a brownie. I've started to fantasize about going there when things are particularly noisy and chaotic at home.

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I have a few places where I read but the most accessible is probably my bed. No telivision and computer is just next to my bed, so is the bookshelf :)

elizascott2005 at yahoo dot co dot in

Anna said...

No need to enter me, but I'll add this giveaway to my sidebar.

I wish I had a private space to write, but as you know, my daughter doesn't give me any privacy. LOL

Diary of an Eccentric

fitz12383 said...

My reading spot is on my stomach on the couch with coffee or Diet Dr. Pepper not too far out of reach. I can stay here for hours.

Amanda N.

fitz12383 said...

tweet tweet:

Amanda N.

Jo-Jo said...

My favorite reading space is on my deck in the summer. It's just so nice and quiet with birds chirping all over the place. As long as a bear decides not to visit me all is well!
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Iliana said...

this was fun to read. I try to do my journaling when I'm alone and nothing is going on. Doesn't have to be a special place but I don't want any distractions. I've tried going to a coffee shop and such and I can write notes but not real journaling.

Misusedinnocence said...

On my bed, with the door locked so no one's interrupting my quiet time. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not entering, since I've read Ru's book, but I loved reading about her (lack of) work space. And also, your thoughts on writing over at her blog!

Rebecca :) said...

I love the photos of her favorite writing spaces! I wish I had those kind of spaces to write in.

No need to enter me in the giveaway as I have already read her book (my tour date is the 29th). I really enjoyed it.

ikkinlala said...

I don't have a lot of private spaces to read (I like a hammock on the porch at this time of year, but there are often other people on the porch). I guess my private space is my bed, which features a scratchy wool blanket and a bedside table piled high with books and various scraps of paper on which I've written titles of books I'd like to read.

ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

nfmgirl said...

My private space is my bedroom. However it currently is not the peaceful Zen area I would like, but is instead a chaotic mess of boxes and stuff. But atleast it is shut off from the five cats demanding attention and the loud bird, so I can have a little peace and quiet to read or blog!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...


nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Debbie F said...

My private space is in my bedroom. I have to lock the door to keep the kids out but it works!


dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Anonymous said...

I love to read on my front porch...very relaxing.

karen k

Beverly said...

My private space is a comfy red chair with a light behind that shines on the books I am reading with the classical music or jazz playing in the background.

But in reality when I am reading a good book anywhere is my privat space, noisy airport, sitting in the stands at a track meet.

Strangelove said...

I am always reading in any place I can, even if I am just waiting in line to purchase something for a single minute.
So, I don't really have a place of my own, a specific space, I just turn any place into a reading place for me.

carlos_durao AT hotmail DOT com

Rebecca N. said...

Sometimes when I am lucky, I escape to the back yard. I can usually get a good 15-30 minutes in before I am discovered by the chaos of other family members. Sometimes I like to read in a tub full of bubbles after the kids are asleep. That is, if I'm not too tired myself.

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

Rebecca N. said...

I tweeted!

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com