Where I write

Show and tell about the desk, park bench, cafe table, subway car, or any other space where you write: blog@newtownliterary.org.

Chandra Steele

When I moved a few months ago I found an ad I had torn out of a magazine. A girl is stretched out across a yellow bedspread, devoting her attention to the blank page rolled into the Olivetti typewriter before her. She’s wearing a dress and lipstick, no doubt part of the procrastination that preceded her writing routine. I might not use the Olivetti I have and my desk makes a better writing surface than my bed and eyeliner is more my style, but the nod-to-the-retro vibe when I write is the same.

My expanse of black wood desk is nearly empty, save for some artifacts of the written word that I don’t use: a pencil cup, a mail sorter; a speaker cleverly disguised as a fox; and a Baroque-style lamp made of Lucite. I’ve got an old-school black Slimline phone that hardly ever rings. Sometimes I look at it and imagine I’m Fran Lebowitz, dodging calls from my editor and lighting up another cigarette.

SteeleWhereIWrite

There are bookshelves on either side of the desk. I’ve arranged them to make sure that the outward-facing volumes are pleasing to look at. Except for the one where a drawing of Nick Hornby eyes me with a reminder from the cover: “Shakespeare Wrote for Money.”

Outside my window, there are train tracks where the thunder and rumble that peaks during rush hours goes by barely noticed. They run through trees and marsh and past a narrow road where cars have to cling to the sides to pass each other. Across them is a straight-out-of-Connecticut red Victorian with a wraparound porch, a pool, a greenhouse, and matching guest quarters. But if I walk to my kitchen to get a cup of coffee, there’s the hazy glow of Bud Light and New York Lottery neon from the bodega through my patio-door curtain and the spotlit, graffiti-covered shed next to the train tracks. These views remind me that Queens and I and my writing, to quote a Brooklyn guy, contain multitudes.

Read Chandra’s story “A Thousand Beautiful Things” in Newtown Literary Issue 1, and find out more at her website.

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