Of course, I’d dreamed about having one, and I’d planned one. And so when the oyster shell plaster walls in part of my 1774 home began to crumble and it was clear some changes needed to be made, I was certain what I wanted. Not another guest room. (Although I do love having guests. Sometimes.) I wanted to re-do one small room into the study of my dreams.
Two walls are covered by built-in bookcases. They hold the reference books I use most, plus materials I take with me for “show and tell” when I visit libraries and schools, and research materials for books I’ve written but which haven’t sold yet. (I’m always optimistic.) Why file those papers and books away in the room (yes, an entire other room) I use for my books on Maine, American history, psychology, forensics, etc., when I could have the specific books I might need right here at hand? By the way, that’s one of my favorite Winslow Homer prints hanging on the bookcase, bedecked by a Red Sox cap. All work and no play, you know.
There are two windows in my office. I can see out both of them from my seat at the corner desk. One looks out over the river, reminding me how lucky I am to be in Maine. The other gives me a view of my driveway, letting me know if anyone has driven in. That’s for convenience and security. I live in the country.
On my right hand is a refrigerator for water and iced tea, and it’s topped by an electric kettle, and one of my favorite mugs from a local Maine potter, so I don’t have to stop to go downstairs to the kitchen for a cup of tea in the middle of a chapter. Unless, of course, I need an excuse to stop. Then I can always be out of tea bags. (The NINK newsletter lying there is the monthly publication of Novelists, Incorporated: one of the writers’ organizations I belong to. Wonderful group.)
On the shelf above the desk are a couple of my favorite dictionaries and thesauruses, including a 19th century one if I’m writing an historical. A Word XP for Dummies. A Chicago Manual of Style. Books on prints. A Zip Code directory. Basic tools of the trade that are used often.
The wonderful little stand with the green index cards in it has replaced the stacks of cards I used to have on my desk. It’s from Levenger’s, one of my favorite places. Expensive, but a writer’s heaven. I write plot and character notes on the index cards and then stick them in the stand; as I incorporate the details in the book I’m writing the cards get discarded, or put in a folder to check later. I can switch them around, or tear them up, as necessary, and always see where I’ve been and where I’m going. I love that stand. Right now it’s holding cards for my next Maggie Summer Shadows mystery. I’m writing about 10 pages a day, so it’s helping me keep on track.
On the other side of the desk I keep my appointment calendar, the reference books and notes related to the book I’m writing now, my two-line telephone (one line for me; one for my husband,) and a pencil holder my daughter Elizabeth made in high school ceramics. (The orange flower a young fan gave me when I spoke at her school.) Above the desk is my Agatha Nomination, family pictures, fun quotations, name tags from conferences I’ve spoken at, and good luck tokens.
There’s also a nineteenth century oil portrait of Edgar Allan Poe that my husband bought at an auction before we were married to give me good luck. Edgar oversees all my work.
I haven’t shown you the remaining, wall, although I do love it, too. (I love all of this room!) It holds six file cabinets (Levengers, your catalog is dangerous!) and the 19th century wooden wardrobe which used to hold clothing in this room (homes built in 1774 weren’t equipped with closets) and which I’ve converted to a cabinet to hold my office supplies. That side of the study also holds my printer/scanner, open files for events I’m scheduled to do in the next 12 months, and ideas/tentative synopses for possible next books.
I spend 10-12 hours a day in this room. I’m glad to have had you visit. But, sorry. Now I have to get back to work. Thanks for coming!
Filed under: Lea Wait | Tagged: built-in bookcases, Edgar Allan Poe, Lea Wait, Lea Wait's study, Levengers, Maggie Summer, Maine, Maine writer, Poe portrait, Shadows Mystery, Winslow Homer, writer's study |