Working from home

One small positive outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is that I have finally had the chance to convert a bedroom into a meaningful workspace that I love. I’d like to share some of that with you.

This week, I’m going to share with you a little about these special images and why they make me happy when I’m working. Not surprisingly, most of them have a connection to England.

Here’s the wall in front of my desk:

Let’s start by looking at the maps.

I’m not sure where I got these — I think my mother probably brought them back as gifts for me. I’ve never actually been to Canterbury, but I guess she thought it was such a pretty map and didn’t I want to go there at some point…?

York, of course, is one of my favorite cities I’ve ever been to. I’d love to go back, so every day when I’m in my office, I can look at this map, right in my eyeline over my desk, and imagine it. Micklegate Bar, Clifford’s Tower, the ruined Abbey, the Shambles… One of the most fascinating things about York is how clearly you could see the layers of its history and development. From the Multangular Tower left by the Romans to the Gothic splendor of York Minster, you could see history down every street, hiding behind the modern veneer. Well, okay, except the Viking era, since they built in wood not stone, but we did enjoy the Viking Experience with full sensory immersion, right down to the smells. Yikes!

One of our most fun nights on that trip was the night we found a little pub hard by the walls and drank English beer and ate boxties (filled potato pancakes) and walked back to the guesthouse happy and tipsy. Iconic English evening.

During the writing of FINDING KATE, I emailed the folks at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, a medieval guild — like an early trade union — for local merchants. The beautiful, massive hall was an indication of the growing wealth, status, and importance of merchants in society, and I when I had a question or two about merchants in the medieval period, I wrote to them for help. The (mostly volunteer) staff of such historic sites are passionate about their places, and they enjoy sharing their knowledge. So if you’re a writer, reach out.

OK, that’s enough for today. More tomorrow!

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