Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!
Where Writers Write is a series in which authors showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen.
This is Gregory L. Norris.
on a healthy diet of creature double features and classic Science Fiction TV,
Gregory writes for national magazines, short story anthologies,
novels, and the occasional episode for film and television. Norris writes The
Day After Tomorrow series for Anderson Entertainment in the U.K. based on the
Gerry Anderson NBC made-for-TV movie, which he watched and loved as a boy, and
worked on Paramount’s Star Trek: Voyager series as a screenwriter. Norris lives
at the Outer Limits of New Hampshire’s North Country in a century-old house
called Xanadu with his giant rescue cat and emerald-eyed muse.
Where Gregory L Norris Writes
Often, I joke with friends that if my Writing Room had a sofa, coffee pot,
and bathroom, I’d never leave it. I sit here in the heart of Xanadu, my
century-old New Englander on a hill in New Hampshire’s North Country. My home
office, much like writing, was a dream I envisioned long ago the summer after I
turned fifteen and took my first step into the much larger universe to be
explored by living a literary life.
Xanadu—named after the 1980 roller disco musical about a place where dreams
come true—had sat neglected and vacant for two years before my late husband,
Bruce, and I toured it on a frigid December afternoon in 2012. Four months
later, we closed on the house and moved in, and Bruce began a fierce renovation
schedule, including the downstairs bedroom with the antique wide-pine floors.
He took this room apart, restored everything, painted it in beachy blue
(considered the most productive color for a creative space), and, on a Saturday
in March that felt like the best Christmas of my life, we moved all of my
furniture, boxes of manuscripts, artwork, and family treasures into my new and
forever Writing Room. I plan to haunt the space long after I’m gone.
My writing room—where I’ve penned more than 500 of the total 1564 works of
fiction of my career, including my novel Ex Marks the Spot (Woodhall
Press, September 2021)—is my favorite place on this planet. I have others on
other planets and realms, but since we’re here to talk about writing spaces,
I’ll stick to the big room with the tall ceiling that beckons to me every
morning after I wake upstairs either to the feline alarm clock or the one
operated by my muse.
The room boasts two enormous glass-front cases, both containing my archives
of published clips—every novel, short story, magazine, DVD, or VHS tape
containing my work. One entire wall is covered by autographed photographs of
celebrities I’ve interviewed or gotten to rub elbows with over the course of my
career—all of my childhood icons, in fact, from having grown up on a healthy
diet of creature double features and classic Science Fiction TV. Two
four-drawer lateral filing cabinets contain all of my longhand first drafts in
designer file folders—early on, I realized I wasn’t manila. Another bookshelf
is filled with old press passes, press kits, and swag from events I’ve
attended. The wall above the filing cabinets is devoted to awards I’ve won,
including the Spinetingler’s Best Book of the Year, the Small Press Writers’
and Artist’s Award for Year’s Best New Writer, and my Honorable Mention in
2016’s prestigious The Roswell Awards in Short Science Fiction Writing. A
letter of recommendation from the creator of Star Trek:Voyager hangs on
that wall. My favorite award is the hand-drawn certificate my mother
presented to me in 1982 on the night of May 28th when she hosted a
party for high school friends to celebrate the completion of my 100th
work of fiction.
At the center of the room is my desk, a sturdy though beat-up relic from
childhood. My desk was our family’s old kitchen table. When I revealed to my
mother that I wanted to be a writer, only a writer, and requested a desk for
Christmas, I returned home from school one afternoon to discover that she’d
transformed a corner of my old bedroom into a writer’s studio. There was our
old table, brought up from the basement, along with a cup filled with pens and
my first file cabinet, one of those made from sturdy cardboard. I’ve written at
this desk now for 41 years. It still bears ink stains from my fountain pens,
some of those marks four decades old.
In January 2020, my husband died of Supranuclear Palsy, a cousin to
Parkinson’s with a hunger like ALS that is always fatal. I pledged to him and
myself that I would never sell this house, which he loved and which I do as
well—I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. 2020 was also the year of the
pandemic. I decided to treat “shelter-at-home” like “writer-in-residence” and,
with the help of the muse and our rescue cat, Daisy, channeled my grief into
one of my most productive years ever. At
home, I traveled to Antarctica, Moonbase Alpha, Atlantis, solved murder
mysteries, fell in love, and was reunited with Bruce in the pages of Ex Marks the Spot.
Every morning, I enter my Writing Room with coffee and seriousness of
purpose and, on most days, experience the pure, timeless joy of living my
dream. Daisy normally loafs on the “Starry Night” rug at my side, a loyal
companion who would perform light filing duties but for the absence of
opposable thumbs. I love my muse, my Writing Room, and the writing life.