Write Place, Write Time

If you look at anything long enough, say just that wall in front of you -- it will come out of that wall.
- Anton Chekhov

Sarah McCoy

My writing office is a loft at the top of the stairs. It’s a small area that lets me see and hear everything that’s going on in the house—my perch in the tree. It’s a basic space. I didn’t spend years or even hours dreaming of what it would look like. I wrote my first novel in the living room of a small apartment over a bakery where I shared the couch with my husband and nightly ESPN marathons. Pre-Wi-Fi, I had all kinds of Ethernet cables choking me while I balanced my laptop on my knees and tried to ignore the roar of stadium crowds. So when we moved to El Paso, having any quiet area to call my own was a luxury. 

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I got the desk first. A real desk! Being able to sit up straight did wonders for my writer’s hunchback. I keep the shawl my Puerto Rican grandma crocheted for me on my chair. To my right is my reading stack. To my left is a photo of my husband and me in Garmisch, Germany.

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Behind me are bookcases. We’ve got other bookcases in our house, but this is where I keep the books I reach for most often. As you can see, it’s packed. I have Jenga piles forming around the base. 

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At my feet is Gilbert. He keeps me company with frequent furry foot massages. 

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In front of me is a view of the Franklin Mountains. The sky is nearly always blue and the only oak tree I have ever seen in El Paso is rooted right outside, big and leafy. It calls to mind the woods behind my family home in Virginia. The concrete path just beyond is the Rio Grande. This window is one of my favorite parts of my office. It reminds me how big the world is outside my little nest. 

Sarah McCoy is author of the novels THE BAKER’S DAUGHTER (Crown, 1/24/12) and THE TIME IT SNOWED IN PUERTO RICO. She has taught writing courses at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She currently lives with her husband and pup in El Paso where she is working on her next novel. For more information, email www.sarahmccoy.com or tweet her @SarahMMcCoy.

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