Inside the writer’s room, I answered the door to find three ladies of boomer age peeking in anxiously. We smiled amicably at each other while they carried in their paintings. I returned to my seat. They walked to the back of the room and knocked on the owner’s apartment door several times. When he finally appeared, he greeted them briefly, then turned and disappeared behind his door.
The ladies spoke in whispers and asked each other for advice about placement on the walls, shifting each canvas and blathering on about their work. I admired their work, then sat down again to continue working. After forty-five minutes of hammering and whispering, my patience was growing thin. “Can you keep it down?” I asked politely. They nodded in unison then quickly looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
The next week the room was closed early to set up for the gallery opening. Being told to vacate before 5 p.m. seemed a bit strange to me. Most gallery openings don’t begin until at least 7 p.m. and who in Manhattan shows up before 8 p.m.? I was getting the distinct impression that this “writer’s space” was much more of an “artist’s space.”
After some research, I was surprised to find that there were a few other writers’ rooms in the city as well. In the autumn, I visited a different writer’s space. When I reached the second floor, I was buzzed in through a long hallway. One of the owners cheerily greeted me and brought me into the writer’s room off to the right. It was a beautiful room humming with writers, softly lit. A couch and a few chairs were placed in the middle in front of a fireplace. Warmly lit desks and cubes beckoned me in.
She then whisked me down the hall to a kitchen covered in bulletin boards with announcements of writer’s roundtables, writing competitions, workshops, and classes. Cards advertising editorial services lined the windows. Postcards featuring writer’s books were piled up. At a small table I spotted a wooden bowl overflowing with candy; newspapers were strewn about as two women chatted. The bathroom had an abundance of magazines and lotions. Coffee was brewing—and so was conversation. Two guys and a younger woman were debating the presidential candidates. A young guy gazed into his laptop, cookies in hand. One woman chattered away on her cellphone about the episodes she’d written for the Cold Case Files television show, while another woman read a novel.
Before leaving, I peeked one more time into the actual writer’s room. Then I heard it: the light tapping of fingers on keyboards, the occasional patter of feet as people came in and out of the room. It was the perfect amount of quiet. It was the right kind of quiet. Unlike the other writer’s room, this one felt just right.
I sensed I would once again get my mojo back. Time will tell if that’s truly the case. For now, I’m enjoying starting to get to know the space—and its writers.