Where Writers Write: Dave Ursillo

This week’s Where Writer’s Write post comes to us from Dave Ursillo, a fellow Rhode Island native &  writer. If you have a rockin’ writing space you’d like to share with us, email me at kristinoffilerwrites@gmail.com.

I love to write on a subject I call, “alternative leadership.”

Alternative leadership is at the crossroads of self-realization (beyond the stigmas of self-help, not personal development, but genuinely realizing the power and beauty and limitless capabilities we all possess) and leadership (redefining what it means to be a leader and helping people reclaim the title of leadership for themselves, in any walk of life, to genuinely help people).

My writing tends to take a very personal tone, sometimes drifts into either a very poetic/prose form or, conversely, can take up a strong edginess. It evokes a lot of emotion in readers, and often treats topics of social behavior, group interactions, and how we lead our lives.

What is your writing space like?

Simple, practical. Peaceful, zen, ohm. Whether at home or on the road, at my desk or in a coffee shop, I always seek out a writing space that is an environment that serves my writing frame of mind: giving, open, sharp, poetic, creative, valuable. 
At home, I like to keep sparse reminders within eye-shot like notes-to-self (currently notes like, “Feeling precedes, then facilitates, action.” and “Serve strengths, measure in ease, simplicity, joy.”) and inspiring books (poetry from Hafiz and Rumi, Emerson and Thoreau, works from the Dalai Lama and more), which always litter my desk. I like to have brilliant words surround me. They serve as great queues for my writing: pushing myself to up the ante and truly serve others with the words I write.

Do you keep writing routine? If so, what is your routine?

I keep a very strict routine of keeping no writing routine at all. Like Orwell’s 6th rule of writing, break any of your own rules when they don’t serve you. Routines make me feel boxed in, and with an art form like writing I believe that you need to go when the flow strikes. 
I try to write every day, but often there are stretches when I don’t write for a few days. I really enjoy writing when I feel it, instead of trying to “will” it. I don’t subscribe to the tortured artist routine or believe in writer’s block — writers tend to keep to many self-imposed rules, restrictions, preconceived notions about their craft which only complicates things. Just be open, clear your mind, and flow.

What’s something unique and interesting about your writing space?

Today my writing space is pretty make-shift and made to travel: to move, to breathe in new scenes, to experience new faces and see life being lived. That fuels my writing. I’m a nonfiction writer so experiencing people and regular, ordinary living situations serves as incredible and endless inspiration to me.

If you could have any writing space in the world, what would it look like and why?

Writing overlooking the water — or any scene that screams “life.” A New York City street currently screams life to me when I write these days. I love the scene of a quiet beach just as much — different views, but they all serve my writing purpose: give, give, give.
Dave Ursillo is a former politico insider turned alternative leadership writer, author and speaker. His debut nonfiction title, Lead Without Followers, is a personal tale and political analysis of what it means to be a leader in today’s desperate world. He speaks, offers 1-on-1 leadership coaching and blogs at DaveUrsillo.com.

Where Writers Write: Jacey Blue Renner

In this week’s edition of Where Writers Write, we get a glimpse into poet Jacey  Blue Renner’s writing space. Jacey and I met in graduate school, and I truly admire her writing. Be sure to check out her blog! And remember, if you’re interested in sharing your space with us, shoot me an email at kristinoffilerwrites@gmail.com. Here’s Jacey!

I like to think that I am a poet first, & writer second.  I have student loans that indicate that I absolutely made the time & effort to improve on this love.  And well, my collection of books that seems to regenerate during the night, would absolutely indicate I am a lover of both poetry & short fiction.

My work has always been about the human narrative, in both the broadest & narrowest sense.  Certainly now, my scope has become focused on the poetic perspective during times of war, but I also have fallen in love with a city that I think & write about daily: nyc.  I think the right space only serves to help mold & grow those writing experiences.  And for me, those preferred space are usually ones that are quiet or if not quiet, visually stunning in some way.

Kristin & I met during graduate school.  And I find her daily to be a source of both kindredness & inspiration, despite our coastal distances.  I thank her often for giving me a push in the right direction that I may not have known I needed.

What is your writing space like? 

If an indie bookstore & a living military archive had a love-child, the result would be my current space.  And I love it.  In our last house, my husband & I had separate working areas (mine was sunshine yellow & overlooked our pond, his was very military centric & looked out across our roses), but in our new home, we had to merge.  The result: a place that gives me a different kind of inspiration.  Given my tendency to write about war & its intimacies as I am growing to know them, it provides a great place of balance.  Read some Lorca, read some Sebastian Junger. Mix accordingly & I get a kind of urban-romantic piece with varying military undertones.

Do you keep a writing routine? If so, what is your routine?

At present, my routine is solely based on observation.  For me, I have to let ideas, images, experiences, & interactions marinate for a spell before I can create with them.  I am always drinking instances in & filtering them for possible use. I do carry a notebook, but I often feel like writing in it in the moment, unless it is a very specific quote or image, takes me out of the space I need to use it later.  And now that I live in a city where I have to drive everywhere (can you imagine?!), it makes it hard to write when I am out (for fear of well, driving into a rogue clown or ferrier).

 What’s something unique and interesting about your writing space?

A few things really:  it is on an Air Force Base, this space is technically meant to be “bulk storage” (we took that to mean “thought storage”), and you will find Walter Lord’s Day of Infamy lounging comfortably next to Hardy’s Tess of The D’Urbervilles.  During the fall I watched the Air Force Thunderbirds do barrel rolls outside my window (that also shook every time they flew by).  My favorite piece within the office is a flag my husband flew on his aircraft during a mission in Afghanistan.  I mean, if that doesn’t kick my arse into productivity, looking on that daily, I may as well pack it in.

 If you could have any writing space in the world, what would it look like and why?

It is really simple.  And as cliché as it may be: any space in NYC that has a few big windows, is in close proximity to a boutique café that has good coffee and baked goods, & is close to a good subway line.  You can’t help but feel exhausted & alive there.  And you don’t mind the exhaustion, because truly, in the morning, your creative hangover is so intense, that you want to do it all over again.  And again. And again.

Jacey Blue Renner received her MFA from Lesley University and is currently working to maintain her creative muscles as a freelance writer and poet. She reads for the literary journal Tidal Basin Review and thinks Tina Fey may actually be the answer to, well everything. Temporarily based in the Southwest she hopes to make it back to her city-love NYC soon.  Read her blog here, jaceybluerenner.blogspot.com.

Thank you for sharing your space with us, Jacey! I’m so intrigued by military life (having just escaped it myself when I married my veteran husband very shortly after he left the Army), and I loved reading about your inspirations and city love. 

What do you guys think of Jacey’s space? And what would your ideal writing space look like? Share in the comments below!