Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Stacey May Fowles for DESK SPACE

DESK SPACE Who (a witty one-liner or a bio)?

STACEY MAY FOWLES Stacey May Fowles is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, a teen magazine publisher, a loose tea aficionado, and a mildly neurotic geek. She's not on facebook and never will be.

DS When did you start writing, publish your first book (or when are you publishing your next)?

SMF I've been writing stories since I was in kindergarten, and while I'm sure they were "cute," they were likely never any good (although I'm sure my Mom would argue.) A bulk of the things I wrote in high school were horrifyingly bad and mostly about the sex I wasn't having. I published my first short story (which was not about sex) in a literary journal in 2003, and my first novel, Be Good (which is about sex), last fall.

My next book is an illustrated novel called Fear of Fighting that I collaborated on with artist and genius Marlena Zuber. It comes out this October.

DS Where do you write (at your desk/outside/in bed)?

SMF I do my very best to sit down at my desk in my office and write there, but ever since January when I got all four of my impacted wisdom teeth out at once and was stuck in bed on Percocet for a week, I've developed this nasty habit of bringing the laptop to bed. In fact, I'm writing the answers to these questions to you from my bed right now.

When I was writing Fear of Fighting I wrote almost exclusively at various coffee shops because for whatever reason nothing was happening for me while I was at home. Every day it was an earl grey tea, a sesame bagel with cream cheese, and a goal of 1500 words. The key is finding a group of coffee shops that will let you stay there for hours on a five dollar tea and bagel tab, and then staggering them throughout the work week.

More and more I'm trying to be a "grown up writer" and make the office space work for me. At home right now we're on this kick where we're strict about our "zones"; we both do work at home so we feel it's important to have a space reserved for for work, a space for eating, a space for sleeping, a space for tv watching, etc. It's supposed to improve our collective mental health and is all very well intentioned, but every so often I just want to have the luxury of an entire workday from bed. What good is working from home if you can't at least have the occasional horizontal workday? I mean, most of the 9-5 world thinks that people who work from home are "not really working" anyway. That's probably why I get so many midday calls to go for martini lunches.

DS Why do you work where you do?

SMF I'm a bit of a hoarder and I'm always surrounded by notes, magazines, books, and whatever stuff I happen to be buying off ebay, so having a dedicated home office space is kind of like having a teen girl bedroom all over again (hence the autographed framed photo of Kelly Clarkson on my desk - that was a gift from the editor of Shameless). Also, having a room for my organized chaos and strange collections is a really easy way not to piss off the (very minimalist, methodical, neat and tidy) person I live with.

I've never really needed quiet to write - I've always been the kind of writer who listens to loud music and can easily write in public, so being alone in a home office all day can actually be a bit of a challenge. That and there's always a household task that needs to be done outside the office door. I think that's why the coffee shop becomes a necessity. It's such a cliche - "look at me, I'm a real writer because I'm writing in public!" But I think sometimes when the dishes pile up and the laundry needs to be done, it's completely necessary to get out of your own mess and into someone else's to get any work done.

DS What are you working on now?

SMF I'm currently editing an anthology of non-fiction essays affiliated with Shameless Magazine that's due out in the spring, and I'm considering expanding the play I wrote based on Fear of Fighting to a full length production. I'll also be working on messing up my desk again, as admittedly I tidied it up for this photo.

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