Thursday, 8 August 2013

In My Habitat ~ Guest Post by Elisabeth Wolf ~ Author of "Lulu in LA LA Land"

Today, I am very happy to have Elisabeth Wolf here with us.  She has written an amazing middle grade book, "Lulu in LA LA Land".

And Elisabeth has written an amazing guest post for us as well.  Enjoy the guest post and the amazing pictures!


- Guest Post by Elisabeth Wolf

Here’s what I need to write when I want to write my best: a long table; a view of nature; soft quiet or bird song; my dog, Winnie.  I wrote Lulu in LA LA Land sitting in three different places:  my dining room in Pacific Palisades, California; my parent’s dining room in Cambria, California; The Perch in Kennebunk, Maine.  Each of these places has a long wooden table where I can write and look out windows.  Oh, and Winnie always lies nearby.

Here are pictures of the three places I write.

This is my dining room in Pacific Palisades.  Outside the window is a native garden that I planted.  In the background you can see the “V” shaped trunk of a huge Sycamore Tree and on the right side are red leaves of a Western Red Bud Tree.  Both of these trees start losing their leaves in September and grow new ones around March.  I can judge how VERY long I’ve been writing by watching the leaves come and go.  Also, since I mostly grow native plants (meaning plants that have been growing in my neighborhood long before people ever built houses there), my garden attracts local birds.  Watching hummingbirds, finches, and scrub jays, I feel like I have visitors throughout the day while I’m working.  My main character, Lulu, grows native plants and watches birds.

This is my parents’ dining room in Cambria, California.  Their backyard overlooks the Pacific Ocean.  I have spent zillions of hours looking out those windows and watching fog (as you can see now), sea otters, pelicans, gulls, dolphins, fishing boats, and smashing waves.  In my story, Lulu worries about trash in the seas and spends time arranging beach clean ups.  Well, now you can see exactly how and why I wrote about that!

Here is where I am right now.  All summer I live in a small coastal town in Maine.  My old house is on three floors, and I write on the top floor.  I named the house The Perch.  I’ll show you why.  Here’s what I see from my desk:

I sit up high near the top of an old Oak Tree.  While I write, its leaves wiggle at me.  If I stare long enough, the dark and light green lichen and mosses growing on the trunk form a pattern.  Mostly, I listen to lapping waves and rustling leaves and watch the tide go way out and then come way back in. If the ocean breeze reaches as far and high as the open windows across the front of my writing table, I sometimes smell dried fish and seaweed.

My son, Philip, is 15 and works down at the cove you see in the distance.  His job is rowing little kids to a nearby island.  I watch him steadily stroke across the water until I lose sight of him behind the Oak branches. Lulu talks about protecting old trees. .  His job is rowing little kids to a nearby island.  I watch him steadily stroke across the water until I lose sight of him behind the Oak branches. In my book, Lulu talks about protecting old trees.  When you read this section, think about the Oak you see here.  Staring at and wondering about this tree and other huge old trees inspired me to write that part.

There are two other things you should know about my writing world.  First, I can’t write hungry.  If I try, all I do is think about food.  So, during the time I work, I get up and go to the kitchen lots of times.  I love chocolate and can eat it any time of day.  In my kitchen I keep bowls full of whatever fruit is in season.  I’ll devour fruit all day long.  I just ate a nectarine.  Lulu loves farmers’ markets and that’s where I always go to buy fruit.

Second is Winnie!

He keeps me company when I write – even if it means he lies under my table for hours (like in this picture). Or, in the picture below, he guards the entrance of the third floor of The Perch.  Rarely, does anyone climb up all the stairs to look for me when I am writing, but if anyone tries, they have to get past Winnie!  Of course, he’s not fierce at all.  He’s loveable and would do anything for a belly rub.  Lulu has a Pug, named Watson.  Watson waddles about being silly and smelly.  Lulu loves him anyway.  When you read about Watson, think of Winnie (who isn’t smelly or silly but is always sandy and dirty).

Most of all, when I write, I surround myself with what makes me happy and secure.  Actually, now that I think about it, I try, as much as possible, to fill my life with what makes me happy and safe.  I hope you do too.


Elisabeth, thanks for stopping by!!!  "Books Are Magic" wishes you all the best for all your future endeavours.

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