Life Sentences, Day 112: Portrait of the Artist as a Bowl of Fruit

January 21st, 2011

This is where I write my award-nominated books — um, novels.

I moved the manly pipe rack and the PBS vase of flowers before Mun took the picture.

In actual fact, as the English like to say, I write about 75% of the time in coffee houses and other public places where caffeine is plentiful and good.  But a blogger asked me to write about my work habits and include a photo, and I thought this was more in keeping with the whole man-of-letters thing.

This is, by the way, our dining room, so, yes, I’ve co-opted half of the table.

In all, this works pretty well.  Mun is out most of the time, tying herself into sailor knots at yoga classes or at the Santa Monica Library or doing whatever else she does in her mysterious daytime hours.  When she’s home and has found a new Colin Firth interview to listen to on her Mac, I have my earphones and my long list of coffee houses.

One of the advantages of writing at home, of course, is that no one comes up to me and says, “Writing, huh?”  This spares me the adrenaline rush of going immediately homicidal and also keeps me in the story.  The downside is that there are one trillion things that need doing at home, and they’re all more interesting than writing on the days the story won’t come.

Before anyone else gets around to it, I nominate this as the most inconsequential piece in the history of this blog, which is saying something.  You’re all spared any expectation on my part that you’d respond.  What would you say?  Nice-looking apples?  (They’re Fujis)  What’s that blotch on your computer?  (Damned if I know)  What’s the big yellow book on the right?  (Disease Prevention and Treatment, and neither Mun nor I has had so much as a sniffle since she brought it home.)  Where are all your books? (Discreetly just outside the left margin.)  See?  I’ve answered your questions already.

Have a nice day, everyone.  Oh, and grab an apple for the drive.

12 Responses to “Life Sentences, Day 112: Portrait of the Artist as a Bowl of Fruit”

  1. Phil Hanson Says:

    Tried to grab an apple before heading out on my bike. (Note to self: Add flat-screen monitor to shopping list.)

  2. EverettK Says:

    Tim said: I nominate this as the most inconsequential piece in the history of this blog…

    Oh, not even close! For example, we have the empty blog:

    By Month

    Rest my case.

    By the way, though, this picture DID bring very much to mind something I wrote just the other day [clipping to just the interesting part…]

    It was an impressionist painting, unusually well done, of a young girl sitting in a small boat on a river. Holding a sign. The sign was quite clear, it said and keep you safe. And the girl looked very much like the girl outside, including her clothes, tan shorts and a purple T-shirt. Fish looked down at the typed card to see the information about the painting. It said, “Still life with banana. Penelope Pride.” He looked back up and it was still the little girl in the boat, but then he realized that the sign said From all you fear.

    Fish tucked the cube under his left arm and rubbed his face, especially his eyes, trying to squeeze some moisture from the tear glands that seemed to have been injected with chalk. When he lowered his hands, the painting was an uninspiring piece showing an elderly man sitting behind a table, hands in his lap, and a bowl of fruit on the table in front of him prominently featured two large oranges at the front of the bowl and a banana poking straight up from the middle of it.
    Fish closed his eyes and shook his head, but the banana still stood erect over the oranges.

    Honest to Abraham. But it does make me wonder just what it is you’re doing behind that laptop…

  3. sharai Says:

    Gee Everett, that’s tough to follow!

    I just heard about the Edgar Nomination and have to send you a big hug!!!!!! You’ve always deserved awards for being a fine human being who happens to be hugely talented and has the best sense of humor ever. But to gracefully slide into public acknowledgment while most of your peers are slipping into snowy haired comfort, to paraphrase Robb’s earlier comment, must be soooooo sweet!

  4. suzanna Says:

    Your incognito coffee house writing days may be numbered now that yer an Edgar nominee. Oh well, you could always put on a funny hat and glasses : )

  5. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Are you wrung out? After all it is the day after the day after, and you’ve never been an Edgar nominee before. Apples in a bowl always look beautiful, and I don’t think this is a boring blog. Just low key. Enjoy this time. Again, you’ve earned it.

  6. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, and I can NOT BELIEVE anybody responded to this.

    Phil, I have a little web-bot that uses the laptop’s webcam to take a snapshot of anyone who tries to grab an apple, and that shirt is really awful.

    Everett, that blog was an exercise in post-modernist minimalism and it won a prize in a global minimalist blog competition based in (where else?) France. First prize was a beret, which I gave to that turkey in the Thanksgiving story.

    Nice excerpt, too. Love the sign.

    Sharai, thanks, and I’d slip into snowy-haired retirement, too, but I’m too compulsive. Writing, as I’ve said before, is like therapy except that it works. If I didn’t write, I’d fracture into a cloud of warring personalities and Munyin wouldn’t know which one to yell at.

    And thanks for all the sweet words.

    Soozie, I have a great false nose with warts on it, modeled on the witch in Disney’s “Snow White,” and even at my advance stage of fame, no one recognizes me. In fact, it’s so effective I can leave it in my pocket and STILL no one recognizes me. I paid a fortune for it, so it’s good to know it’s worth it.

    Lil, I am totally wiped out, but that’s mostly because the nomination kicked me into high gear on PULPED, and I’ve written myself pretty much empty. I like bowls of apples myself. In fact, since Mun took that picture a couple of days back, the apples have all vanished except for the two least promising ones.

  7. Debbi Says:

    You didn’t answer the question: What are you wearing? Is that a robe? A jacket? A dark unbuttoned shirt? What?

  8. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, Debbi —

    It’s Armani,of course.

    Actually, it’s a heavy cotton work shirt in navy blue over a sort of apricot-peach-some-other-kind-of-fruit-colored T-shirt that’s a silk and cotton blend. Tres chic, non? This picture was pretty dark so I zetzed it up a little in PhotoScape and the colors moved toward the orange segment of the spectrum.

  9. Bonnie Says:

    So when’s your interview with NPR? 😉

  10. Laren Bright Says:

    Come on, Tim. Everyone knows you write at home in your bathrobe. What we don’t know (and shudder to consider) is what you’re wearing UNDER the bathrobe.

  11. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Wouldn’t that be nice?

    Seriously, wouldn’t you think some outlet somewhere would be trying to assemble a panel of the nominees? What do mysteries and thrillers hold for us these days? Where’s publishing going? What happens when Manhattan no longer controls what we read? What about the genre ghetto?

    Oh, well.

  12. Steven Says:

    Wish I could be there tonight Tim. Have a great reading.

    Steven Farmer
    Savannah GA USA

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