Meg Mitchell Moore: Writing in the Bunker

Meg Mitchell Moore is the author of The Arrivals, which publishes this week.  Set in Vermont, this captivating debut features a couple whose empty nest fills up again over the course of a summer, with each member of the family gaining new ideas of loyalty and responsibility as a result. 

There are two different spots in my house where I typically write. The first is an office on the second floor which I am not going to photograph because I am in the middle of an enormous and poorly timed clothes-sorting-and-donating project that involved bringing lots of Rubbermaid containers down from the attic and strewing the contents across said office. The place I’ve been writing more often in the past year is at a desk in our basement, which I like to call The Bunker. (It’s not a walk-out basement.) That desk is pictured here. The only reason the desk is in The Bunker is because we bought it for my daughter’s room, it didn’t fit there and I was loath to pay the restocking fee to return it. Plus it’s a nice desk. I work here only when my kids are at school and I have the house to myself, or sometimes at night when everyone else is sleeping. There’s a desktop computer on the desk, which we set up for the kids to use. When I work in The Bunker I push the desktop to the back and squeeze my laptop in front of it. The only adornment is a Miscela Leone coffee poster, nothing fancy, I’m not sure where I got it but recent research shows that anyone who wants one can have one from buymeposters.com for $19.99.

Behind me, as I sit at my desk in The Bunker, is the only sofa in the house the kids are officially allowed to use as a jungle gym. (Ironically, this sofa has more hard edges and unfortunate angles than any other piece of furniture in the house.) To my left is a small, high window that looks out on the back yard, and sometimes I can see my dog walking by during one of her yard explorations. She’s a border collie, going on a decade old, but still fit and game, and occasionally she’ll rouse herself and do a couple of laps around the yard at full speed: a canine track workout. To my right, on the floor, not pictured here, is a sheet of Masonite, 8 feet by 4 feet, recently laid down for my oldest daughter to use to practice her Irish step dancing; the board helps her hear if her feet are hitting the ground correctly on each step. Also not pictured are baskets of kids’ toys and a couple of frighteningly life-sized Disney princess dolls, one of which was supposed to talk but thankfully arrived on the scene mute and has remained so.

I have always envisioned writing in a light, airy, well-furnished, kid-free, dedicated office, uncluttered, maybe a vase of fresh flowers, a fruit bowl with some grapes and apples. A river view would be nice. I’m not sure when that’s going to happen, or if. But for now I think I’m doing okay in The Bunker.—Meg Mitchell Moore

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