Writing From My Altar #Writerslife #Inspiration #mgtab @suzannejenkins3

Writing From My Altar

Musings from a writer’s life

Posting this for new Authors’ Billboard member, Suzanne Jenkins. Welcome Suzanne!


Much needed rain is falling in Southern California. Watching the weather report, the conditions here in the north San Diego county mountains and in my hometown in Michigan is not that different. It’s actually warmer there than it is here. I’m thinking about the differences as I write from my current writing space.

When we are away from home I write from our RV. This past week, we parked in a busy part of Anaheim to join our children and grandchildren at Disneyland. At night, I wore noise-cancelling headphones and wrote in the RV bedroom while my husband played his guitar.

Now that we are back home again, my preferred place to write is in a recliner with my feet up, a magnificent view of the mountains covered with fog out my window. I have a Himalayan salt lamp and an essential oil diffuser going. I’m laughing as I tell you this because it’s my attempt at maintaining a Zen-like place to help overcome the angst I suffer missing my former writing space in Michigan. Following is a retrospective written almost four years ago. Even my writing style has changed. But the memory of that wonderful writing space is so fresh, the view out the window; well nothing surpasses it.

Writing from My Altar

When I first began to write fulltime, I did so at the kitchen table, my laptop situated across the table from my husband’s, who also worked from home. This setting functioned seamlessly for two years. Both quiet as we worked, the only distraction came from our dogs when they wanted a bone or from the wildlife outside our windows when it was time to refill the bird feeders, or more corn needed for the deer in the wintertime. My ideas were flowing so quickly that it wasn’t an issue if my husband had a conference call, or I was interrupted by an unexpected visitor, or the UPS man arrived, setting the dogs into turmoil.  And then reality hit.


My next story required research and concentration. If my husband had a noisy conference call, I lost my train of thought. If the dogs wanted attention, and they would not be denied, I had to stop and take care of them. It seemed that the most minor of annoyances could throw me completely off track and I would forget what I was writing. It was time for a private office.


Leaving my husband and the wildlife view for a small room at the front of the house was difficult at first. If I got lonely, we could yell to each other and the dogs could come and go. We positioned a large, old farm table that had belonged to my mother in front of the window, facing the sheep pasture. I put two bird feeders close by so I could watch the birds. Occasionally in the spring, wild turkeys passed across the lawn with their babies, a tranquil setting which helped rather than hindered the flow of words. Gradually, I got used to the seclusion.


Items I love began to find their way to my table top. Ancient sepia photos of my grandparents and parents graced the background, along with those of beloved dogs now gone. A hand-thrown pottery cookie jar filled with dog bones occupied one corner. A bowl of colorful sea glass my Aunt Von collected on the beach in the village of Capitola in Santa Cruz County sits nearby.  My owl collection includes pieces from my mother’s antique shop, and gifts from my friend, Betty.


Cherished for the memories attached to it; a small, antique bronze sculpture of a kneeling, naked Native American girl had a place of honor on my desk. I’d bought it for my dad to add to his collection of bronzes, and when he died, my sister gave it to me. From my daughter Jennifer, a pendant of Saint Anne, the patron saint of grandmothers, and from my son Andy, a candle he bought me for Mother’s Day when he was fourteen.  A nest my friend Cate knit, holding five knitted Robin’s egg-blue eggs.


My desk top reminded me more and more of an altar. The process of writing is almost worshipful, meditative. The writer must pull thought where it taunts from the back of the mind, and put it into words another human can make sense of. Doing so, and knowing that not everyone will find the same meaning in the collection of words is both intimidating and egocentric.


I’m not sure if making an altar of my desk was intentional or accidental. I may have hoped it would help me be more successful at the task of writing. But I think its real purpose is to comfort me. It’s a scary proposition to put it all out there. Writers know what they are inviting; criticism, ridicule, shame even. But it’s a compulsion. There is a story to tell, and it must be told. I’d asked myself at one time, Now Suzie, who is going to care about this? It’s really vanity, thinking a series of narratives compiled of some childhood bogeymen are worthwhile reading fodder.


So the writing table becomes a sort of combination springboard/cocoon. I am alternately withholding/expounding, hiding/exposing.  Someday, I hope to make up my mind.  I keep waiting to be arrested for writing tales that should be kept under wraps. My office is a safe haven for a dangerous occupation.


Join the Authors' Billboard Newsletter mailing list and get a newsletter filled with new releases and books on sale every Friday.

Start out your subscription with a free book!

About Suzanne Jenkins

Get Suzanne's newsletter and never miss a new release! Receive a FREE Pam of Babylon short story by signing up at http://suzannejenkins.net Suzanne's Gift to You! DOWNLOAD FREE and Bargain EBOOKS Start the first installment of Suzanne's bestselling series, Pam of Babylon FREE! Download Today - The Greeks of Beaubien Street 99 Cents (Greektown Detroit Detective Stories) Also free, Atlas of Women, a compilation of the novella, Mademoiselle and four short stories, and Burn District: The Prequel. Her anthology of romance titles with eleven other authors, A TOUCH OF PASSION, has just become the 2016 WINNER of The Romance Reviews Readers' Choice Awards. Suzanne writes page-turning contemporary romance, mystery, and women's fiction with passionately gripping characters that stay with readers long after they turn the last page. The Detroit Detective Stories, beginning with The Greeks of Beaubien Street are a reflection of American fantasy with historical reality. Pam of Babylon books consistently rank in the Top 100 Best Sellers in American Drama with over 500,000 downloads. Suzanne's stand alone novels include Someone Like You, the Family/LGBT themed Alice's Summertime Adventure, suspenseful The Savant of Chelsea, Slow Dancing, The Liberation of Ravenna Morton and Perfect for Him, her latest romance story. "Bring the tissues," readers say. Burn District, Jenkins new sci/fi series, follows an American family as they flee from political insanity to save their lives in the Arizona Desert. Her short story, Vapor appeared in Willow Review, Spring 2013. A retired operating room nurse, Jenkins divides her time between the west Michigan lakeshore, the Brandywine River Valley, and the mountains of Southern California, traveling across country with her husband, Jim and dog Oscar in an RV, to visit their children and grandchilden on different coasts. Visit http://suzannejenkins.net where you may subscribe to an email list entitling you to free stories and excerpts of soon to be released and new releases.

4 Replies to “Writing From My Altar #Writerslife #Inspiration #mgtab @suzannejenkins3”

  1. This is a beautiful inside look into your amazing mind. You truly are a wonderful writer/storyteller and I admire your talent so much. I love everything you write about in all of the different genres you have conquered. I am just so glad I happened upon your books of Pam of Babylon when I did, because you have taken me on the best, wildest ride and I’m so thrilled you’re still at it. I know you may sometimes have doubts about what you do, and agonize over not wanting to disappoint your readers, but, believe me, you never disappoint THIS reader.

    You are the BEST!! Thank you for it all.

    A devoted reader,
    Linda Micelotta

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this window into your life, Suzanne. It’s kind of strange how we can take such comfort in those little things that hold such importance in our memories. There’s a kind of sensitivity that goes along with type of habit and I think most good authors experience it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.