Thursday, May 27, 2021

My Home, Myself

 I (Donis) am driving myself insane lately by trying to learn new and more effective methods of online self-promotion. I tried an experimental BookBub ad yesterday to no avail. I've signed up for Instagram. Suffice it to say I'm not an influencer yet. I'm doing giveaways. For the rest of this month I’m giving away three copies of my 2014 release, Hell With the Lid Blown Off, which, if someone held a gun to my head, I’d have to say is my favorite Alafair Tucker Mystery (which,  if you’d like to enter the drawing for a paperback copy, go to my website, here, click on “Contact”, and leave your name. I’ll draw the winners’ names from a hat on May 31.)

Why, you ask, am I torturing myself thus? I'm trying to make my publisher happy so they'll deign to keep publishing me. Will it help? Ask me later. 

In the meantime, I loved Rick and Barbara's entries, below, on where they write and how they sit. It made me take a good look at my own surroundings. I write in my living room, sitting in a gliding rocker, with my laptop on a small lap desk, with a big pile of miscellaneous papers on a footstool next to me. I'm a messy writer. I have to have a number of things to hand because I don't want to interrupt what is hopefully a brilliant run of words to get up and look for something I need.

I am a relatively tidy person otherwise, but I haven't had a visitor in my house for over a year, so I've kind of become blind to my surroundings, like an old bear in her cave.You grow used to your environment, and after a while you don’t see what is right before your face, until you go into it in depth, picking up each item, moving things around, digging into corners. It is amazing what you can learn about yourself if you look with new eyes at the space you inhabit. 

Here is what close examination of my domicile taught me about myself:

I live in an atelier.  Every room in my house has to do with writing. Shelves, tables, surfaces, closets, desks, all contain notes and files, reference books and manuscripts, computers, printers, supplies.  I keep a notebook on my bedside table, so that when I wake in the middle of the night bursting with a fabulous idea or the perfect image or combination of words, I can scribble them down before they are lost. It was fascinating to read some of the gems I wrote.  A few of them even made sense, and even the ones that didn’t often had a certain poetic je ne sais quoi.  To wit: “I didn’t remember the word, but I knew there was an ‘N’ in it, because I could feel the spirit of “‘N’-ness .The ‘N’-ness of it.”   And, “ I want to protect her, which makes me want to hurt her.”

I live in a library.  We had books piled on and in every available space in the house.  We were tripping over books.  So we decided to do a major go-through and box up any book that could not be lived without and donate them to the library. We boxed close to 500 books, and yet we still do not have one inch of space on any bookshelf. At least I can see a few of the table tops. I would be embarrassed to admit how many books we have, but I feel sure that most of you reading this post are just as bad as I am, if not worse.

I live in a museum. Our house is filled with artifacts of our lives. I painted the landscape in the den in 1975.  I picked up those grave rubbings in England in the ‘60s.  My parents bought the end table in the living room for their house in the early 1950s.  My sister hand-embroidered that wall-hanging. Most everything my eye falls upon - furniture, decoration, art, even clothing - has a backstory.  In fact, as I look up from this computer, I see four watercolors Don and I did of the views outside our apartment in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, in 1977.


My sister's embroidery

I live in a shrine.  Don loves Asian religious art, so the house is blessed with dozens of statues of the Buddha, Krishna, Ho Toi, Ganesh, Rama, Kwan Yin.  I also have a peculiar little shrine to myself.  When my mother died a few years ago, we four sibs divided up the hundreds of photographs, mostly claiming pictures of ourselves.  Consequently the entertainment center in the family room contains  Donis' Life Story in Pictures, from the ages of two to forty, when I ceased to be quite so adorable and lost interest in having my portrait made.

Me, age 2

1 comment:

Anna said...

Donis, you are describing my house: books, art work, papers, writing stuff, the works.

Isn't it wonderful what lovely children we all were? When mine were quite small, an older friend observed (in her British-inflected speech), "It's good that they are so beautiful at that age, otherwise we'd muh-duh them."

Usually I can get a good writing prompt out of these comments, but that one doesn't quite make it.