My Pit

by Rob the Slob

Photos of our workspace, huh?  Be careful what you wish for.  Just click on the thumbnails to see the full-sized photos.

MAN STYStealing blatantly from my hero, William Goldman (whose book you’ll see prominently displayed), this is what I refer to as my pit.  And, believe me, it really is a pit.  My wife calls it my Man Sty.

I’m not known as Rob the Slob for nothing.

This is where I sit every single day and most of the night.  I must be spending twelve or more hours a day in this chair lately, including weekends.

My ass is sore.

As you can see, I write on an iMac.  I’ve long been a PC guy, but I love my iMac.  On the right is a screen that at the flip of a switch is a secondary Mac display or a Windows 7 monitor.  Depends on my mood.  I’ve got a PC under the desk.  

The thing with all the knobs on the left is my newly acquired Mackie Oynx 1640i firewire mixer.  I write and record music and this helps me do that.

THE LEFT SIDE OF HEAVENThis area is directly to my left as I sit at my desk.  I like the bookshelf there so that I can reach over, grab a book at random and get inspiration from my favorite authors. When I’m low on writing energy, there’s nothing better than reading someone else’s work.

I probably could have cleaned up and made everything pretty, but let’s face it. Most writers are slobs.  We’re right brainers, so what do you expect? I’m looking at some free time late in October and I plan to rip everything out of here and completely redesign this space into something resembling a real office—and recording studio. 

MY BELOVED CHILDRENHere we have an old Fender Bullet Strat that’s worth about ten bucks, which I bought during the Fender CBS years (I worked for CBS at the time as a script typist).  The black one is a Gibson Les Paul, which is on loan from my daughter.  And to the right of that is my new Paul Reed Smith Tremonti, which I absolutely love.

You’ll note the piles of Gold Medal books in the b.g.  My “collection.” Turns out I collect more dust than books.

I’d show you a wider shot of the room, but you’re already disgusted enough.  You do not want to see any more than this.  Trust me.

LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT HEAD!This is a reverse shot—and what I look like most of the time I’m writing. Spiffy glasses, eh?

And finally…

MY BRAIN ON DRUGSThis is my real pit.  Where I keep all of my files, all of my notes, all of my ideas… It’s my portable office. I try to carry it with me wherever I go.

Sometimes I forget to bring it.

Hilarity ensues.


JT’s INSPIRATIONOkay, this shot is for JT, who insisted.  If I got embarrassed easily, I’d be very red-faced right now. Because, let’s face it, I’m really baring my soul here.

37 thoughts on “My Pit

  1. Rachel Walsh

    Rob, I have major shelf envy! All that book space! Puts my measly two IKEA shelves, and the avalanche of books on the floor, to shame.

    You have a great space in which to get creative, that's for sure.

  2. Zoë Sharp

    Hey Rob

    Nice brain – I usually keep mine in a box under the bed…

    Love the guitars. I always wanted a carbon-fibre backed Ovation, but never got around to it. Maybe one day…

  3. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Great space, Rob. I love the bookshelves. My ass is getting sore just thinking about the amount of time you sit at that desk. Not that my ass is doing all the thinking, of course.

  4. PK the Bookeemonster

    I look at your space and think: toys! The mixer and the guitars! THAT is what a workspace should be about — the things with which you work and play. And I love your bookshelves. I'm such a compulsive bookshelf browser. You definitely get a "feel" for what the person is like by checking out their book collection. You've inspired me. Maybe I'll do a cellphone photo of my space at work today…I think I know how to send it from the phone.
    I just purchased my plane tickets for Bouchercon this morning. No turning back now. 🙂

  5. Grace

    I love the book shelves and guitars. Makes sense to have all you love surround you in a room where you spend a lot of time. Love your work – thanks for the peek!

  6. Dudley Forster

    Hey Rob – Nice Man Sty. So is that iMac one of the Duo Cores or the new iCore? I’m a PC guy too, but I’ve been drooling over the new 27” iMac. Gotta get one so I can use Scrivener, well not the 27” one, but an iMac.

    What kind of music do you write? And is that a ukulele hiding in there?

    Noticed the Dr Who, excellent. I think everyone should have a Tartis, not for time travel, just some place bigger on the inside than the out. Think of all that bookshelf space.

    Glad that’s your brain. I thought it was a Rorschach test and I’d flunked.

  7. Robert Gregory Browne

    Rachel, I built those bookshelves in a frenzy one Sunday when I couldn't stand the clutter anymore. It is probably the cheapest bookshelf ever built—just a bunch of planks attached to metal shelf thingies (as you can see, I'm up on the lingo). But it works and I love it.

  8. Karen in Ohio

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Some "sty". Methinks thou doth protest too much. It looks pretty danged orderly to me, Rob.

    I'm loving this look at everyone's space, and totally identify with the "glue your butt in the chair" idea. It's the only way, isn't it?

  9. Robert Gregory Browne

    Zoe, it seems to me that every time I've encountered you in the flesh, you definitely had your brain with you.

    I obviously don't. Otherwise I probably wouldn't have used the expression "encountered you in the flesh."

    I will stop talking now.

  10. Robert Gregory Browne

    Dudley, the iMac is a quad i5 27" that I bought about a year ago. Pricey, but a wonderful machine. And the screen is 2560 X 1440 resolution. Gorgeous.

    I think all the iMacs are either i3 or i5's this year.

    As for music, I write all kinds. Getting time to record it is the hard part.

    And yes, I'd love to have my own TARDIS. For both the space AND the time travel. If you like Doctor Who, I strongly recommend the Big Finish audio adventures. They're great for long car rides and walks.

  11. Robert Gregory Browne

    Karen, I carefully avoided showing you the other side of the room, which looks as if it was hit by a hurricane. If the bookshelves are "the left side of heaven," the other is "the right side of hell."

  12. Robert Gregory Browne

    Grace, yes, I love being surrounded by this stuff, but it's also a distraction when you're on deadline.

    I need to write twenty pages today? No problem. I'll start after I play guitar for a—ooo, I don't remember buying that book. I wonder if it's any—THERE's that DVD!

    Three hours and no pages later….

  13. Robert Gregory Browne

    Brett, I've been to your place many times and there are TONS of distractions there.

    But knowing you as I do, you probably cleaned everything up so it looks nice and tidy. Lined up all the pens and post it notes, made your work table pretty, cleaned the surrounding area, so that everyone will get the impression that you have no distractions…

    But I know better… 🙂

  14. Debbie

    Not exactly what I expected-I mean it's lived in, comfortable, and no offence but, those books? Well, they look kind of organized. As for distractions…I spent yesterday reading Tess' archives. Put me in a room with four blank walls, a computer and it's unlikely that I'll be writing. Get rid of the net? I can't…I use it as a dictionary, thesaurus, for research…. What does Rati mean? Click, click…hmmm. Hindu goddess of love, carnal desire, lust, passion and sexual desire? Is it possible for a person to project themself into the future of a group of people she will one day be a part of thus influencing a naming decision without their awareness? Alex, paranormal…isn't that your specialty?

  15. Robert Gregory Browne

    Debbie, organized—to me, at least—means alphabetized. Those books are in no specific order. When I'm looking for a book, I have to scan each shelf, hoping it'll jump out at me. Sometimes I get lucky, sometimes I don't.

  16. Dudley Forster

    Debbie – So that's what Rati means, who knew. Brings a whole new dimension to the term "Rati community” It’s also very timely. Yesterday I was looking for an exotic sounding name for one of my more "adventurous" characters, one that just decided to show up uninvited.

  17. Robert Burton Robinson

    Love the guitars and soundboard. I used to have six guitars in my office. Now I'm down to two. And they do offer a nice break (code: excuse to goof off) every so often.

    My classical guitar inspired me to write the short story, "Classical Revenge," about a guitar shop where they sell a special type of guitar strings. Let's just say they're not CATgut. Of course, nobody uses catgut anymore, which was really sheep gut. These days the strings are made of nylon—except in my story. 😉

  18. Catherine

    I too was pondering the first set of pics and thinking nah, not that messy. The JT inspiration shot does reveal a little more, and the cereal bowl on the keyboard is a nice touch. It just looks like a room filled with a lot of things you love, that you work in. Very mild man sty.

    A friend who I went to uni with had the type of man sty that was a risk to any who entered. We would be working on a project on his computer and you'd be afraid to breathe. Mostly because a pile of stuff might teeter and engulf bystanders and you just knew no one would be able to tell that anything had changed from the doorway view…and if you couldn't reach the technology to get a message out, you'd be there forever trapped in the uber-sty.

  19. JT Ellison

    : )

    That's better – I love it. It's very you – and not as messy as you depicted. Your books are wonderful!

    Wow – I didn't know the meaning of Rati either – that's totally cool! We're all just channeling anyway, right?

  20. Dudley Forster

    JT – If we weren't, we are now. I know I won't be able to use Rati without the additional context popping up in my head.

    Debbie – I think you just made Alex's day.

    I wonder if this trend to embrace chaos theory as an interior design motif is going to continue. If so, I guess I ‘m not one of the cool kids, as I’m a bit OCD about my work space.

  21. Allison Brennan

    Rob, love it! Especially the bookshelves. And you're not the messiest of the Murderati bunch. Trust me. I am soooooo not looking forward to posting my pics . . . I had hoped to clean my office, but I've been crunched on deadline and don't have the time . . .

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