Mar 10, 2010

The Writing Space of Nafisa Haji, Author of The Writing on my Forehead

I recently reviewed Nafisa Haji's The Writing on my Forehead (click for my review).  Haji was gracious enough to take time out of her busy schedule to share with us a sneak peek into her writing space and writing life.

Please give her a warm welcome.

Cultivating a space for my writing was the first step on the journey to take myself seriously as a writer—something I had to do before anyone else could. 

Buying a desk that would be mine alone, not something I shared with my partner or anyone else, was important.  I remember brushing aside feelings of guilt at the expense.  It was the intention, the promise that I was making to myself, that was the real point of that investment.

Part of being a writer is reaping the fruit of what comes from having been a reader.  When I sit to write at my desk, behind me are shelves lined with the books not aesthetically worthy of display in the living room— the paperback classics and pulp fiction that I devoured as a teenager, the assigned college reading that left a mark, as well as some books I’ve never read but have kept, the ones that survive the purging I indulge in when I’m in procrastination mode, or when the shelves look like they can no longer hold their burden of past indulgences and good intentions for the future. 

The walls in the current incarnation of my space are a copper color—“pennies from heaven” was the name on the paint chip, a lovely fragment of poetry and music that caught my eye and inner ear and made me think of the people whose job it is to give tempting, marketable names to the stuff we brush on our walls as the background of our indoor lives.

Always at hand are baby name books, my favorite a book of multicultural names that is well-worn from handling.  Also, a couple of dictionaries, a thesaurus, several books of quotations, and a stack of nonfiction related to historical events that may have touched the lives of the people currently living in my head.  

There’s a window, but the blinds rarely go up, the slats slanted to let in light, but not enough to see out.  

The point of this room, whose only other use is for my daily meditation, is to go within, to get away from the distraction of the view outside.

My laptop and what I type into it are sacred, never subject to the social viruses that get passed around on the Internet.  I have to leave the room to connect to the web of the wider world, to check email and verify facts.

In the drawers at my side are files of stuff that I keep for no good reason—one, especially treasured, filled with rejection letters, painful to read when received, that I have learned to savor as gifts over time.

This is my space—one I am grateful to have had the time to occupy, glad for what has come out of it in the past, and eager to discover what grows here in the future.  

Thanks, Nafisa, for sharing your sacred space with us.

8 comments:

trish said...

"The point of the room is to go within..." I think that will be the focus for me when I can finally have a little space of my own.

Anna said...

I think her writing space is beautiful and cozy. I need to carve out my own space in my cluttered abode. Great post!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

bermudaonion said...

I love her writing space! If I were an author I'd have to keep the internet out of the room to keep from being distracted!

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

Valerie said...

Interesting post, I enjoyed seeing her writing space. I would never have thought an author would use a baby name book frequently, but it makes perfect sense to me now that it's been mentioned!

Janel said...

I can tell Nafisa is very dedicated to her writing. I've heard of shutting off an internet connection and using flash drives just for writing. I've never heard of anybody using a laptop for only writing. Bravo, Nafisa!

Staci said...

I think everyone needs their own space...hers is pretty awesome!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

What a beautiful space! I like that!