I’ve spent the last week struggling to finish ANY of the four drafts I now have in Live Writer. At some point earlier today I finally gave up and decided to go a COMPLETELY different direction. My Love has been running images from the random places in her life, and I decided to follow her lead and post up something I’m sure ALL of you are dying to see: my home office.
As you can see…I like my workspaces BUSY.
Equally important to a writing and drawing environment is a great source of reference material…so I also have a bookshelf full of some of my favorite things:
I also have two 6′ x 5′ bookshelves full of history, fiction, literature and reference works…but they aren’t out of storage yet so the books are sitting in boxes just out of sight to the right of this picture. Eleven of them. They look exactly like the one to the left of my desk:
Yes, I am a geek. Yes, that’s a Sun workstation. Yes, it’s running Solaris 10. Yes, I am a BIG geek.
Alright, so what exactly IS all this crap on my desk???
First, we have my favorite books from the last century. At least the ones that aren’t by Robert Jordan or L.E. Modesitt Jr. or Daniel Keys Moran or…
Starting up the left-hand side we have “The Oz Tales” in two volumes and “Wonder Tales” in one volume by L. Frank Baum. Then we have “The Works of Jules Verne” and “The Works of H.G. Wells”; and then “The Looking Glass Wars” and “Seeing Redd” by Frank Beddor. Those two aren’t really on my “Favorites” list…they’re just recent reads. Then we have “The Gormenghast Novels” by Mervyn Peake, “The Lord of the Rings” by Tolkien, Hassain Hadaway’s translation of “The Arabian Nights”, “The Call of Cathulhu and Other Stories” by H. P. Lovecraft, “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” and “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, and the venerable “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman.
Then from left to right I have the exceptional “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” and the utter magnificence called “The Ladies of Grace Adieu” by Susanna Clarke. Then two big omnibus collections by Glenn Cook in “Chronicles of the Black Company” and “A Cruel Wind: A Chronicle of the Dread Empire” which were both very dark and yet surprisingly entertaining.
Then we get to two of the utter high points of my library…my ENTIRE 5000+ book library…the delightful “In the Night Garden” and the sheer pleasure that is “In the Cities of Coin and Spice” which comprise the two books in “The Orphan’s Tales” collection by Catherynne M. Valente. Mrs. Valente has a very entertaining blog and a few wonderful short stories here and there, as well as a couple of other books that I haven’t yet found, but have every intention of owning simply as soon as possible. I really can’t recommend these two books with mere words that do them justice. The language, the imagery, the very tone and texture of her expression of thought…it’s simply transcendent literature.
From there we progress into my “pulp classics” horde…First we have four collections of stories by Robert E. Howard in “The Coming of CONAN The Cimmerian”, “The Bloody Crown of CONAN”, “The Conquering Sword of CONAN” and “The Savage Tales of SOLOMON KANE”…which really cover so much of Howard’s work. I need to get the collections that cover Brand Mac Morn and Kull of Atlantis, but there are always more books to buy. Next we have three volumes collecting several books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. “Under the Moons of Mars” collects the first three books in the Barsoom/John Carter of Mars series. “The Moon Maid” collects all of the books in that series and “Pirates of Venus” collects the first two books in that series. I have every book by Edgar Rice Burroughs in electronic format, and they are readily available from Project Gutenberg…but as with so many books, there’s something visceral about holding a book in your hand. I have to admit I greatly prefer these particular reprintings by Bison Press, and I wish I’d bought more of the books in the series when they were available.
Next we get some short story collections by one of my more recent discoveries, Charles de Lint. They all revolve around his remarkable city of Newford, and I’m utterly entranced by some of the recurring themes and storylines. “Dreams Underfoot”, “The Ivory and the Horn”, and “Moonlight & Vines” are the only ones I’ve picked up so far, but I’m sure I’ll have spent at least a hundred bucks on his books by the end of the year.
Finally, we get to my favorite author who isn’t a British woman or a dead southern gentleman. Neil Gaiman is, in my opinion at least, the greatest living mind in fiction; prose, poetry or script. As far as I know I have all of his readily available prose and poetry on this shelf. “Stardust” is perhaps as beautiful a novel as it is as an illustrated story (which is over on the bookshelf), “Neverwhere” was a BBC miniseries before it was a novel, “American Gods” and it’s semi-sequel “Anansi Boys” topped the NYT and are mind-bending perfection, “Smoke and Mirrors” was his first short fiction collection and “Fragile Things” was his second. I have to point out that “Fragile Things” is probably my favorite collection of words in print. It includes his poem “Instructions” which I consider to be the most moving words ever strung together. The final book in the lineup is “Good Omens” which was co-written with Terry Pratchett.
You can also see the two sourcebooks for the Tactical Strategy RPG “Cadwallon” which I will admit I bought totally for the artwork. The setting is a sort of dark fantasy Napoleonic Europe meets Robert Howard on a bad acid trip. Did I mention the artwork is friggen STUNNING??? Sadly, there won’t be any further output from the creator (Rackham) as the company has gone through an executive and artistic “reorganization”…i.e. they fired all the people that made their products worth buying so they can drift into the obscurity of being just another Games Workshop/Warhammer wanna-be.
Also sitting on my desk is the leather-bound journal I bought last year, my Schaeffer fountain pen and a bottle of Schaeffer “Azure” blue ink. All three of these were acquired when I was considering a road trip from Tumwatter, Washington at the start of US 101 and then out along the coast all the way to the Mexican border and from there take Mex-1 to Land’s End at the southern tip of Baja California near Cabo San Lucas. I haven’t given up on the trip, but I haven’t decided if I’m gonna save the journal for that or re-purpose it for something more likely to happen in the next year.
OH! Also visible in that picture are my four fuzzy friends:
From left to right we have my Mariners Rally Monkey (which is apparently utterly and completely exhausted of rally mojo), my Pink Ichiro Bear (It’s actually my daughter’s) wearing my shark tooth necklace (which helped me win more than $200 at the craps tables in Vegas), my daughter’s Dragon “Fantasy” who is keeping my bookworm “Munchums” (which I actually had to argue for in the divorce) company.
Moving left we have my PSP, twenty one PSP games (wow, looks like I have a couple RPGs…) and two PSP movies (they were two dollars each), two bottles of Knappogue Castle Irish Whisky 1994 hiding behind the speakers, my BlackBerry, wallet, passport, keys and a stack of CDs I just imported into iTunes (I think I see White Stripes, Raconteurs, Alanis Morrisette, Dave Matthews Band, Cake, Pearl Jam and The Goo Goo Dolls), and below that the notebooks and sketchbooks related to my fiction. Yep, my deep dark secret is that I draft all my fiction longhand. The old fashioned way…with a pen on paper. I realize that costs me all my geek cred, but oh well, now you know.
Here you can see the Mac Mini (iTunes and iPhoto and Photoshop and Painter X), my Wacom Intuos 3 6×8, three Hotoi figures and a Fu Dragon. The Keyboard and the Griffen Powermate are for the Mini.
This is the “vice” side of my desk. You have my green tea-set hiding behind the speaker, my Eddie Izzard DVD, my Train concert DVD, and every DVD of Sting that money can buy. Next to that is my Nintendo DS (my daughter picked the pink alligator case) and 13 games. My Painter X manual and a book that should have been entitled “Painter 8 for dummies” and “How to Paint People in Painter”…but they went with the much less descriptive “Digital Character Design and Painting” just to confuse people.
Below that is my cigar box for my all time favorite cigar, the Playboy by Don Diego Double Corona (sadly the box holds my pipes and pipe tools and NOT the 25 tubes of tobacco heaven) and on top is my pipe/cigar lighter and a couple of cans of butane and my “pipe boot”. Next to that is my humidor, which currently has less then twenty cigars and about 4 oz.’s of pipe tobacco. On top of my humidor is my bronze reproduction of “Pan Consoling Psyche” which I LOVE. And behind that is my bottle of Glenmorange Quanta Ruban Single Malt Scotch Whisky, still in the box.
This is the semi-random side of my desk. Ordinarily my drawing desk is somewhere close by and my sketch pads and sketchbooks have their own home, and my drawing pencils and inking pens are over there. Right now the Drawing Table is in storage, so I’m “making do” with what I’ve got. You can see my three html/css reference books next to my humidor and my drawing stuff next to them.
From there you have my Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition, two marginal books on writing and submitting fiction, and then Lynn Truss’ marvelous “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” which should be mandatory reading for every English speaking child on earth.
Next to that are three photography books, “Lyrics by Sting” (by Sting obviously), a leather-bound and silver-leaf copy of “The Complete Frank Miller Batman” (by Frank Miller), and my birthday gift to myself, Volume One of “The Absolute Sandman” by Neil Gaiman. If you look closely, you’ll notice that I haven’t yet even unwrapped the plastic. I have this desire to pour myself a glass of scotch, light my favorite pipe, and experience the Magnum Opus of my favorite author from beginning to end on a perfect evening.
Lastly I have my “art bookcase” which is supposed to hold most of my art related books. It doesn’t actually hold ANY of my Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Baroque, Renaissance, Second Empire, Romanesque, Romanticist, Realist or Impressionist books.
So basically, this is my “Fantasy Art” and “Comic/Manga Art” bookshelf.
Charles Vess, Roy Krenkle, Rodney Matthews, Frank Frazetta, Windsor McKay, Masamune Shirow, J. Scott Campbell, Ben Dunn, Jeff Smith and Kazu Kibushi would be the highlights here.
Well, that’s it. If you made it this far, I’m very impressed…or a little worried…