I work from home. I’m a writer. I can’t afford an office. I guess I could, if I gave up getting my hair and nails done and buying shoes and handbags, but I can’t. All that stuff is investment spending for the moment I get my big break, make the New York Times Bestseller List, and start fielding calls from Hollywood. I believe that looking successful attracts success. Of course it also attracts bill collectors, but I promise to pay them as soon as I get my first film deal and my first real office which must be, in no uncertain terms, as far from my family as possible. Why?
1. Because I can no longer get up early enough to get anything done. I have the internal alarm clock of livestock, which was fitting when I lived on a farm. Every morning I was up and writing with the roosters. Now I live on a vineyard with my new husband. A man who has two speeds – fast forward and asleep. Except lately he doesn’t sleep. If I’m awake, he’s awake. And that means that even if I’m at my desk at 4:15 in the morning, I find myself sharing my office with my beloved better half. And wondering if I can kill him without getting caught.
2. Because I’m at everyone’s beck and text. I hate cell phones. And text messages. Nothing makes the words I’ve worked so hard to craft sprout wings and fly from my head faster than the “ding!” of my cell phone. And Heaven forbid I ignore the “ding!” Then the stupid thing starts to ring. And then all I want to do is flush it, which is a really bad move…
3. Because if I get up to go to the bathroom I feel compelled to clean it, and every other room in the house. And now you know the secret to my success. I keep a commode chair in the closet.
4. Because normal business hours around here are as quiet as a construction site. The BBC is blaring bad news in the living room, the microwave is beeping its brains out in the kitchen, and my husband is talking loudly and animatedly on his cell while checking email, feeding the fish, and watching a video about bees which is blasting over the British chick. He thrives on all this stimulation. I thrive on silence. Which I achieve by ramming earplugs so far into my ears they could meet in the middle of my head.
5. Because if I’m hungry there’s nothing to eat because someone (me), needs to go to the store. What I need is to put a little fridge next to my secret potty. But then, you shouldn’t shit where you eat. Or maybe I’ve misunderstood that expression.
6. Because lost and occasionally inebriated individuals mistake our house for a winery. As I mentioned, I live on a vineyard and my husband’s very popular winery is located directly behind our house. Although the road is clearly marked with signs that say “Residence” and “Winery,” it never fails that somebody gets confused, strolls into our kitchen, and announces they’d like to do a tasting. I used to reply, “Sure. I’ve got iced water, orange juice, and Gatorade,” but I stopped. I mean, sports drinks are expensive.
7. Because our Internet access is frequently inaccessible. It’s awful. When our Internet goes out, I can’t write. I stamp my feet and cry. Reboot my computer and curse. And then I do something dangerous: I leave my office. Ignoring the dust on the piano and crumpled pillows on the couch, hurdling the shoes my husband’s left on the floor and forcing myself not to collect the mountain of dog hair in the corner that’s quickly forming its own county, I take the stairs two at a time to the loft praying the light on the modem will be green. But all too often it’s not. I can deal with the interruptions, the noise, even the fact that I’m forced to pee in the closet next to my summer clothes. But if I can’t connect to Google, I’m a goner. Literally. I pack up and leave to find Wi-Fi. And why not? There’s no place as loud as this place, and besides, I’ve got plenty of earplugs.