Free to go down the rabbit hole …

A bit ago I wrote about the unpleasantness of an open office work setting. Today, I’m going in the opposite direction: the delight of an office set up just the way I want.

Working at home as I do is utter bliss — even when I’m tackling a sticky story or wrestling with an uncooperative plot twist. Here it is quiet, and I am surrounded by objects that inspire rather than distract me.

Often I’m on my back deck, especially in early mornings before it gets too hot, with the sounds of birds, squirrels and rustling leaves. Here my mind is at rest and as a result I am  fully engaged. I do not have to write with one shield up prepared for the inevitable interruption. I can even turn off my phone and internet access if necessary, and occasionally I do.

In cold weather, I’ll retreat to my home office, pull up the shades to see my front garden and my cherry tree, and I’ll settle down at my desk, surrounded on three walls by books of all sorts, many of them reference books.

There are, of course, lots of books are on writing, but there are also books on myriad subjects: cars, birds, animals, flowers, genealogies, local and regional histories, world histories and events, music and theater, biographies, Latin, French, religions, science and math. And there are three sets of encyclopedias, including a set of Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia from the 1930s.

Often one of these books draws me in. I may select it to look up one fact about, say, what makes of cars were new in 1929? And how many doors did they have?  That might lead me to another exploration of what were the most popular cars back then? And how much did they cost ? And how much of a normal paycheck did it take to buy one? And what jobs did people do? And what did people wear to drive? And who could drive? And when were driver’s licenses first required? The list of curious questions that one question can lead to is endless.

In the past, I would have to check myself whenever I ventured down one of those rabbit holes.

“Stop! Get on with what you must do! You have work waiting,” I would scold myself. And then I would put down the book reluctantly, sometimes marking my place, hoping to return to the adventure.

Now, however, writing in my own private space with the luxury of time, I am free to go down the rabbit hole and explore whenever and wherever it takes me. And that is simply wonderful.

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