I took this photo of some of my novels that are on the shelf in my official office. I love this room with bookcases full of favorite books and mementos. My grandmother’s Navajo baskets and rugs are on the floor and my mother’s western art collection decorate the walls. There’s a heavy desk that I bought in 1978 and have moved a thousand times. My husband converted the closet into a printer center with paper and supplies storage. The other side of the closet holds my old tech collection–slide projector, screen, dozens of full carousel trays, my first computer, scanners, audio equip and other old techy stuff I must be saving for something. This is the library and an office because my desk and books are there, but I don’t write in that room so full of old stories and memories.
If I don’t write in the beautiful, well-equipped office, where does this writer’s magic happen? My playroom is a large, light-filled bedroom with a window seat on the front of the house overlooking the courtyard patio. This is where my particular brand of magic happens. I have all my favorite creativity jumpstarters around–my piano, sewing machine, paints and canvas, a big worktable with space for my laptop and any project, audio equipment, and trophies and tiaras that jog happy memories of creative success and make me laugh.
And no, that is not a giraffe growing out of my head. Of course, there’s a story about that. I bought a three drawer chest at a local import store and went to the outside loading dock to pick up the chest. My son and husband were stuffing a seven-foot headless wooden giraffe into the back of our SUV that they’d salvaged from the dumpster. They intended to use it for target practice. I couldn’t see shooting up that beautifully hand-painted whimsical sculpture. Even headless, it really spoke to me. After I got the piece home and cleaned up, the giraffe insisted it needed a head. I bought a giraffe puppet online, pulled it over the neck stump and tied a scarf around the “join.” Perfect! I stood my magnificent creation in the corner. Pancho the Airedale immediately nosed him up and had to be shooed away lest its long legs are covered with chomp marks.
I sat at my play table each day, writing like the wind and admiring my clever salvaged giraffe muse until I realized . . . Hey, giraffes have caramel colored spots, not black stripes or brushy black manes down their long necks. The wretched thing had lied to me, led me to believe it was something that was tall, long-necked and dined in treetops. I’d saved from a dumpster and bullets, bought a $45 giraffe puppet head for a freaking ZEBRA and created a Chimera! I may not admire my Chimera the way I used to in my ignorance, but I sure do laugh. The interesting thing is I’ll walk into my playroom and find Chimera in a different spot or turned toward the wall or even lying on his side on the floor under my play table. Today he was standing on the window seat, giraffe head peering out the tall, arched window at the Mesquite treetops and striped zebra butt–mooning me.
It’s all fun! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmelinda