As I get ready to launch my first book, I wanted to offer up the fact that I have neither an office nor a desk to my name.
I wrote 90% of Crossing the Pressure Line at a local coffee shop, in my favorite spot in the corner, directly in front of a large window overlooking the library. The white noise of people chatting and baristas frothing milk has always centered me, so it was never a hardship to lug my laptop and notebooks there. Over time, the coffee shop came to feel like my own personal headquarters. I was there so much I could imagine the seat of the wooden chair molding itself to my backside.
But then the pandemic hit, which meant that working at the coffee shop for hours on end was no longer a realistic or appealing option. I had to finish all the revising and editing work for Crossing the Pressure Line at my kitchen table—which, incidentally, is where I’m sitting at this precise moment.
I have a decent amount of space here at my kitchen table, as long as no one wants to join me and, say, eat a sandwich. It’s nice that I don’t have to haul my stuff around town anymore, but there’s no dedicated spot in my kitchen (or in my house, for that matter) where I can store it all. My current solution is a laundry basket. It’s delightfully portable and can be shoved in a closet or taken to the basement if necessary, but I admit that it's rather unconventional.
The fact remains: I have no desk, no office, and no privacy. I can’t tune out the beeping of the microwave or the slamming of the fridge door. And there’s always someone coming in to ask me what’s for dinner, or where are the oranges, or why are we out of Grape-Nuts?
It feels important that I tell you all this, because somehow (somehow!), at this scuffed-up kitchen table in the middle of the chaos, I've managed to finish, query, submit, and find a publisher for Crossing the Pressure Line. I've written my entire second book here, too—all with the salt and pepper shakers within reach.
I’m turning 48 years old, and if I'd waited until circumstances were perfect before going after my life goal, I’d still be twiddling my thumbs. Conditions are never ideal. The kitchen is perpetually loud. My backside is sore, and my neck is cricked because there's nothing ergonomically correct about my set-up.
But I persist—and so should you, whatever you're doing. As my character Clare says to her mom in Crossing the Pressure Line, “Onward.”