Select Page

The Write Place

I recently read an article on “Why You Should have a Messy Desk,” and it got me to thinking about my work space. I often write where and when I can. That tends to be on my laptop or in my notebook, sitting in a chair or sofa somewhere in the house. There are times when I need to retreat, though, to get away from everything and truly concentrate. For those times, I go to my writing room, and my trusty kotatsu.

A kotatsu is a small table with a heater built underneath. Mine looks like this:

kotatsu1This version of my kotatsu is much cleaner than it tends to get later in the colder months. Right now, I’ve just pulled it out from under about four piles of laundry. My scanner and portfolio are missing, too, because my husband made me put everything away when we had company a few months back. (No, I haven’t pulled them out since then. I haven’t really drawn since then, either, sadly. But that’s a lament for another day.)

The kotatsu might look like any other table…until you look under the blanket:

kotatsu2That’s the neat little electric heater that makes everything under the blanket oh-so toasty. It’s a memory I have from childhood years in Japan that I was excited to recapture when I learned I could purchase a kotatsu here in the US. (And I could afford the purchase, of course.)

The heat isn’t constant – it activates and deactivates on a regulated timer, based on your heat setting – but the blanket keeps the space warm. It’s not so energy efficient as a fireplace, but it’s more convenient than heating the whole house, especially when I’m alone. It’s pretty spacious under there, too. I’m short, so I can stretch my legs out, but even my six-foot-tall husband can get comfy underneath. He just can’t stretch out like I can. The only bad part about our kotatsu is that one of our cats seems to have a sixth sense for when I turn the thing on. And then, even I can’t stretch out as much as I’d like:

kotatsu-catThere’s a specific warning on the kotatsu packaging that you should not let pets sleep under the lamp, because it can get quite hot…but you can’t keep a cat from heat. If you ever get a kotatsu, just turn it off when you step away for any length of time. The heat dissipates, and your cat will become chilled again. Probably miffed, too, but I can’t help you with that.

Do you have a special place where you like to work?