Shuttered Windows

The Shuttered Room and Other Pieces

The Shuttered Room  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“One wants a room with no view, so imagination can dance with memory in the dark.” ~ Annie Dillard

I am afraid I am with Ms. Dillard on this one. Perhaps it is because I have self-diagnosed AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder), but the less stimuli I have when I work, the better I am. A view would take my concentration away from the matter at hand.

I work in a corner of my “office” in front of shuttered windows. I have pics of my family on my desk and occasionally glance at them, but I take them somewhat for granted, thus they are not much of a distraction. I know if I opened the shuttered windows, I would be lost in the scenery outside, lost in thought.

Lost in thought is good for creativity, but it is the inner imagination dancing with memory in the dark that produces good writing.

Do you write in a room with a view, or do you find bliss in shuttered windows?

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Published in: on February 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm  Comments (64)  
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  1. All I can say is that as I get older I get more easily distracted. When I was a kid I could watch TV and read a book at the same time and know exactly what was going on in each. However, now if I am reading and the TV is on I can’t concentrate on my book :).

    • I am the same way – I used to study with the radio on–now I cannot even write unless it is silent — so it is a good thing I work at home and not the news room at work.

      • Yes, you are very lucky to work from home. I envy you :).

      • I did get a snow day today though. Yipeeeeeeeeeee :). So, I am home all day – maybe I can finish my scrapbook that I worked all day on yesterday!

      • unexpected days off are wonderful- yesterday was a work day for me as the paper never sleeps on a Monday

      • Cancel that comment. I went to work after all :(. Wahhhhh!!

      • aw crap!

      • Ya it cleared up, but they’re calling fir really bad weather tonight and into tomorrow, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed :).

  2. This is an interesting question. I’m not a great writer so I would say that I’m not effected either way. LOL! I think as a dyslexic I just trained myself to stay very focused inside my own head. I sit very tense and hunched with my eyes on the key board. I’m a hunt and peck sort of typist. I’m not relaxed when I read or write at the computer. I’m very self critical, due to painful childhood experiences, and so I try to be careful with my words. Even after all that effort it still comes out wrong! :)

    I’ll tell you, when I’m outside, say at the beach, I tend to feel expansive and my mind wanders to interesting places. Sometimes I experience euphoria — if I have a pad of paper and a pen with me I can scribble down deep thoughts. I rarely get to do this but it is one of my greatest pleasures.

    • you seem to need open spaces to expand your imagination — maybe you do not like feeling trapped–you are a good writer–and I have never read anything of yours that has “come out wrong” — you are a girl who needs a view

      • Thanks, LouAnn. You may be right. At least it gets my juices flowing. :)

  3. When I need to be creative…..mostly related to my job as a stager, I immerse myself in researching and inspirational photos….then I sit and look out onto a vista of some sort to relax a bit, then get down to work, it usually helps if I am stuck with particularly taxing problem. So I guess I implement a bit both strategies.

  4. I like to keep the shutters closed, not so much because of over stimulation, but because my back faces the windows in my office and the light makes a terrible glare on my screen. I do find myself often gazing out the window for some sign of life. It gets lonely being shut off from the world outside. ;)

  5. I need lots of natural light to function well. I love windows!

  6. I do my best thinking while staring out the window into middle-space.

    • I get lost in middle space

      • Not a bad place to get lost.

    • Middle space?

      • That space where you aren’t focused on anything.

      • ahh mmm interesting

      • I never really focus on any of this space stuff..

  7. I think I could be distracted without stimuli – so bring on the view for me. I don’t seem to need an excuse to daydream.

    • I know–any excuse will put me away sometimes, but other times I am totally immerserd

  8. I’d be lost without a view! When I was working, my office felt like a cupboard to me as I had no outside window. I like to glance up and see the world go by. Sometimes, of course, I watch the world go by and that’s not such a good idea! :)

  9. Anywhere I can find a space will do, I like to gaze, but prefer that not to distract me from the thought, so I prefer not to have a view that will provoke anything but the imaginative thought I am pursuing. A window is fine, as long as there isn’t much going on out there and definitely no sea or valleys or such things I could lose myself in.

  10. It depends on whether I was working as you were or on vacation lol Diane

  11. I like to have a little background noise, and a view far enough away that I have to mentally think about looking out at the world when I need a break…but usually I just stare at my (large) computer screen and block out the world. One comment talked about music…and sometimes I like music…but it has to be instrumental. Loved your question and being able to ponder what I take for granted. :)

    • I can listen to instrumental music too — can’t have words — I can hone in on my screen too sometimes and shut the rest of the world out

  12. I never really thought about this. I don’t consider myself a writer. As in I don’t every sit down to write — I just do it. I don’t really pay attention to the surroundings but more of the “need”.

    • to meet the need you focus — that is cool

      • you always get me thinking woman..good blogging

      • why thank you — thinking is generally a good thing unless you are trying to sleep

      • laughing, a’yup

      • sometimes I can’t shut it off–and it is not like I am thinking deep thoughts

      • oh I know. It is awful right.

  13. I love this line: ‘Lost in thought is good for creativity, but it is the inner imagination dancing with memory in the dark that produces good writing.’ It’s so true.

    I get my best ideas when I’m lost in thought. But I have to jot down the bullet points in my notebook and come back to it to make a comprehensive flow.

    Beautifully said!
    ~Gail

    • lost in thought without a map is a hard place to be — you map your way out of it

  14. I need a view, I also work best outdoors and if that’s not possible near the open door with a view out the window.

  15. I think I like the option of having a window so that when I’m tired, or frustrated, or just need a change of scenery (pun intended), I can look out and recharge a bit. Luckily the view in my room isn’t too pretty or else I’d get totally lost in it as well!

  16. I like a view. Distracting? Certainly. But I don’t have that much to say, anyway :-)

  17. I prefer a view. I lost my view with my new job. Buy – I also lost the stress that I had at my other job. So- it’s all good ;)

    • losing stress is a good thing

      • For sure!
        Have a great day :)

  18. Above my desk is a blank wall. Need I say more? :)

  19. I like the open window. I like the light, the fresh air, the birdsong (yes, we get that in Harlem!). Sunlight inspires me! xoxoM

    • too cold for an open window today – just got back from my morning “walk” (more like a run with my walking partner) and I have some frozen digits.

      • While it’s cold outside, we have steam heat and it’s hot enough for an open window! Oy! xoxoM

  20. I’ve had both. I recently moved from a house with a lovely view of the water, to one with no view and it’s made a huge difference. The view distracted me :)

    • I find a view can get my juices flowing, but I must leave it to write or I am distracted into getting nothing done

  21. It depends on my mood. When focused I can write anywhere. But more often than not–I can’t handle stimuli–including being on a computer so I write with a pen.

    • I can’t write fast enough with a pen–except when take notes at a council meeting and I mean to take my laptop to do that when I get brave enough
      Many people have a relationship with their pen or pencil–I do not

  22. i like the view. no view and i still feel like i’m at work.


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