All Dressed Up: Midlife Inspiration

Some people have discovered the secret to squeezing more than 24 hours out of each day. Elaine Ambrose, award-winning author of ten books, is one of them. A prolific writer, her syndicated blog posts are published on several websites including The Huffington Post, HumorOutcasts, and Midlife Boulevard.

A few months ago I met Elaine in person at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. We had met “virtually” the year before when she accepted my yoga essay for her anthology Feisty after 45. I was already a fan of her work and in awe of all she has accomplished, yet after sharing a meal with her — her energy and enthusiasm is contagious — I was even more impressed with her and a bit exhausted as I contemplated how one person could do so much.

I asked Elaine if I could share her workspace on Working Naked, sent her a few questions, and after I read her creative and (of course) humorous answers, I realized she was the best person to describe her home office.

Source: ©Elaine Ambrose

Source: ©Elaine Ambrose

My office is down a quiet hallway, but close enough to the kitchen in case I need water, wine, and/or chocolate. It could be a bedroom, but my children are grown and ran out of the house yelling, “Free at last!” I turned the closet into storage for file cabinets and electronics. Two walls are painted bright red, and I have track lighting hung from the ceiling so I can clearly see my mistakes as I write.

One wall is plastered with framed awards because I have a fragile ego. Another wall is hidden behind a monster bookcase that holds more books than some small-town libraries. I have a large desk from Pottery Barn that holds hundreds of papers, files, two laptops, a collection of antique typewriters, photos of my funny family, and miscellaneous candy wrappers.

I have so much stuff crammed into the room that I haven’t seen the floor in two corners since 2009. The room also has a red velvet chair beside a golden lamp wearing a Venetian mask with a feather. Just because.

The office is approximately 15’ by 12’. No one is allowed in except for me. Even the grandkids refuse to step into Tutu’s Writing Room. In my office, I write blogs and books, organize writing retreats, and publish books through my company Mill Park Publishing. I also waste a ghastly amount of time scrolling through various websites and social media accounts.

If you haven’t read Elaine’s latest book, Midlife Cabernet —it won the Silver Medal for Humor from the Independent Book Publisher Awards program, and Publishers Weekly reviewed the book as “Laugh-out-loud funny!” — buy it today. I’m still not sure whether or not the guy sitting next to me on the plane while I read it, forgives me for shooting wine through my nose throughout the hilarious parts (which was a majority of the book). He and I are still dating so I assume the answer is yes. When her next book, Midlife Happy Hour: Our Reward for Surviving Careers, Kids, and Chaos, is released in October, I plan to read it by myself, surrounded by several cases of wine.

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