Friday, January 18, 2013

Revamping the Writing Space with Feng Shui

First of all let me acknowledge that I know how lucky I am to have an office. In other days, in a different house, I wrote in the kitchen, with a portable Underwood on my knees and a pot of spaghetti steaming on the stove. I have an office now in what was once the baby's room. (He will be thirty years old in a few months.) I have a dream of making my office a smooth-running machine for turning out deathless prose.

But my office has problems. The desk became so cluttered not long ago that I took to dragging my laptop downstairs and working on the dining room table. Then, since no one was working in there, I put stuff in the office that there wasn't room for anywhere else. A rack of disused clothing. Four or five bushels of unsorted documents, photographs, bills, DVDs, and mysterious machine parts.

The day I couldn't get the door open for the clutter I knew it was time.

One of the things about the office, which was once the baby's room, and then the teen-ager's room, was its location in the house, bagwa-wise. If you pay any attention at all to the tenets of Feng Shui you know that the northeast corner is the money corner. If you don't clear out the clutter and let the good chi flow smoothly you will be doomed to poverty. No wealth can flow your way. As proof of this, one time when I cleaned out the teen-ager's room and straightened it all up I won two hundred dollars in a football pool the following day. Things like that never happen to me. You may say, ha-ha, native superstition, but two hundred dollars is two hundred dollars.

In the belief that there must be something in it if the Chinese take it so seriously I went online and checked out what needed to be done with my office in order to sharpen up my writing career and attract money.

The Knowing Ones said, first of all, clear out the clutter.

I cleared out the clutter. Three bags of clothes have gone to St. Andrews' Thrift Shop. Five bushels of stuff have been sorted, identified, filed or discarded. You wouldn't believe some of the things I came across. Hey, there was a three-ounce bottle of cologne I brought back from Bouchercon in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2006. It still had half an ounce in it. I squirted it on myself. Nice smell.

Then they said, don't have your desk facing the door. But don't have it facing a wall, either. Well, the room is too small and the desk too big. Either it faces the wall or it faces the door. (You know I'm not turning my back to the door.) I opted for facing the door. If the bad energy gets all over me, so be it. I can always hang a crystal.

Then they said, put something like a mountain behind your desk, either a huge plant or a picture. Something. So I got a reproduction of an elegant old travel poster to hang up.

Then they said, put something in the money corner like a plant. That will attract money. And something purple. That will attract big, dignified money. I went to the florist and got this plant and a little purple pot to put it in. Right after that I found a dime in the street.

Then they said–and this is particularly important–make sure not to have anything blue, or watery, or metallic on your north wall, or all your fame will be quenched. Instead you want fire. Pictures of fire. Candles burning. Red. Orange. Hot stuff.

My whole office was painted blue. I figured this explained a lot about the way my writing career has been going, so I re-painted it a sort of greeny-yellow (that could be a fire color, depending on what's burning) and sent away for a poster of a Mexican volcano to hang on the north wall. And of course a candle. I light it on days when I feel that I have enough on the ball to remember to blow it out, because burning down the house will bring me more fame than I really need right now.

Kate Gallison

1 comment:

  1. Feng shui has always fascinated me, but I've not gotten into it, and feel guilty for that! In my home office, I have to have a clean desk top before I can start working seriously, and as the days pass the clutter accumulates, and I have to work harder to make it all clear and tidy! Good luck with your office area! Thelma Straw in Manhattan