Guest Post: Inside the Writer’s Studio

Today’s guest is author Midge Raymond, whose collection of short stories Forgetting English was recently released in an expanded edition.  Her stories received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction, were nominated for three Pushcart Prizes, and received an Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship.  She graciously agreed to write up a guest post about her writing space.  Please give her a warm welcome.


This is the first photo I took of my current writing space, taken on the day I moved into my house.

I took this photo because I wanted to remember what my writing studio looked like before I really got settled in. I loved the way this clean, empty space looked—yet somehow I knew it wouldn’t last.

Of course, the room didn’t have much personality before the unpacking began, but at the same time, this photo above represents my dream desk: no clutter, no bills, no cat sleeping on the keyboard. Nothing but the blank screen and an empty chair. I don’t even have books in the shelves to distract me. While this setup was a little too spare for the long term, I still hoped to keep my writing studio somewhat de-cluttered—as if it might become a mirror image of my brain: open and ready for the muse to do her work.

Here is my desk today:

The writing studio is more homey, certainly—and at least the cat is staying off my keyboard (for the moment). I have my creativity crystal, my water and my coffee, all the books and journals I could possibly need should I get writer’s block. And, as I’d envisioned, the writing studio is indeed a reflection of what’s going on in my brain, i.e., a cluttered mess, in which million things are spinning all at once. (What you may not be able to see in the photo is my to-do list, stuck underneath the coffee mug, with frantically scrawled items in various stages of completion.)

At the same time, I love my desk, and most days, I even prefer it to the lovely spare one I used to dream of. It’s the desk of a person blessed with a full life, and I can’t complain about that. The trick is to put on my writing blinders, to mentally nudge all the other stuff out of the way in order to focus on writing new work, or revising old work, or jotting down ideas that may be brought to fruition in yet another writing space somewhere else.

Or, I’ll just move everything onto the floor, out of sight, and that works even better.

Thanks, Midge, for sharing your writing space.  Please check out her Website, blog, and the Press 53 site.

About the Author:

Midge Raymond’s short-story collection, Forgetting English, received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. Her award-winning stories have appeared in TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, Indiana Review, North American Review, Bellevue Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Her work has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and received an Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, along with her husband and an opinionated orange cat.

Giveaway Details:  US/Canada residents only.

1.  Leave a comment here about why you enjoy short stories.

2.  Tweet, Facebook, blog the giveaway for a second entry.

Deadline April 25, 2011, 11:59 PM EST


  1. Sounds like a perfect partnership!

  2. I’m glad too — what’s not to love about stories? And I do hope you’re able to borrow from Anna … that’s another nice thing about stories; they’re even easier to fit into busy lives!

    • Lucky for me, Anna and I work together and live near enough to always borrow each other’s books. It’s a great little system, especially for the review blogs.

  3. I love hearing all the short-story enthusiasm — thanks to all for sharing your thoughts!

    • I’m glad that people like short stories like I do. I just wish I had more time to read your book. I’ll probably borrow it from Anna, since I hear she’ll be reviewing it sometime soon for you.

  4. Thanks for sharing not just your space but your insides as well, Midge.

    I always have great intentions for clear space, but I think I really live out the “an empty desk is a sign of an empty mind” motto. Whatever clear space I have is generally six inches on either side of my computer. Everything else is layered!

    I love short stories because they inspire awe: that so much of a character can be conveyed in so few words; that small incidents can be the source of great story; that one story read on a bus ride can keep me entertained all day.

  5. Anita Yancey says

    I enjoy reading short stories, because they usually aren’t to long and I don’t have to put the book down in the middle of a story. Please enter me. Thanks!


  6. Anna, I too wish my writing space could remain clear — as for cat-free, that’ll never happen. 🙂 It’s great to see people enjoying Theo the cat … I think I may have to take him on my book tour with me. 🙂

  7. I love the cat! I wish my creative space could be uncluttered and clear, but that’s impossible.

    No need to enter me, as I will be reviewing the book in June, but I added the giveaway to my sidebar.

  8. Thanks for all the lovely comments … my cat will be thrilled: He’s a star! (Of course, he already thinks that.)

    Most of all, I’m so happy to know how many readers enjoy and appreciate short stories!

  9. Midge Raymond’s before and after photos of her desk and writing space are wonderful! I especially love how her cat is hanging off the edge of her desk! I was interested to discover that my cats aren’t alone in their fascination with the computer keyboard. I like how open and airy the room is.

    I love reading short story collections and am looking forward to getting to know Midge Raymond’s writing. Short stories give us a glimpse into a character’s life and I enjoy pondering what else might be happening in the character’s life. I also love that I can begin and finish a short story in one setting but I know that I’ve only read a small part of the character’s life and, although I might never read more about this character, I can imagine the rest of their life, make it what I think it is based on what the author laid out in their story. I feel like short stories invite me to use my imagination and be creative. I also think its great that authors can present and resolve a crisis, to some degree, in such a small amount of time rather than over the course of 200-300 pages.

    Thank you for introducing us to Midge Raymond and hosting a giveaway of her book of short stories.
    ~ Amy

  10. Ohmy, the image of the cat dripping off the desk cracked me up! Lovely guest post — and now that I’m a new convert to short fiction, I’m off to find Ms Raymond’s collection. Thanks to you both for this!

  11. Serena, thanks so much for hosting me here at your wonderful blog today — and thanks to all of you who are interested in the collection!

    Kathy, so true: the cat definitely helps keep me in the chair!

  12. I love the title of this collection. I enjoy reading short stories so I will have to check this out. One of my favorite collections of short stories is Coronado by Dennis Lehane. He is so well known for his novels (many of which have been adapted into movies) that his short stories are often overlooked, which is a shame.

  13. i am amazed at short stories…because they say so much in such a ‘small’ package =)

  14. I bet having the cat there is an essential part of the writing process.

  15. I don’t read a lot of short stories and I don’t know why not. Those I’ve read, I’ve enjoyed – like a light snack as opposed to a heavy meal. I love the cover, and the clever title. Thanks for the giveaway.


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