Audrey Camp

writer. lover. climber.

Inspiration

Where

About Audrey

What

I specialize in personal essays, travel writing, technical writing, book reviews, and other works of creative non-fiction.

You'll find me with pen in hand in cafés, parks, museums, and on trains. I'll write anywhere! However, my current studio is the second bedroom of my attic flat in Oslo.

Where

To kindle a kinship with my readers, to answer their questions (all of which are also my own). Writing helps me to organize my thoughts and to make sense of things.

Why

Writers spring from a common soil, enriched by all the beautiful, precise, and rousing writing that has come before and that continues to grow around them.

Who

My Writing Space

Desk in Oslo
Desk in Oslo

You'll find me with pen in hand in cafés, parks, museums, and on trains. I'll write anywhere! However, my current studio is the second bedroom of my attic flat in Oslo. My husband's desk is also in this room, a surface cluttered with cables and papers, humming with powerful computer equipment. But my space, just inches way, is different. A sanctuary of creativity.

Over the years I've collected the pieces. The desk and chair were a gift from my parents. The desk mat and notecard stand were gifts from Jonathan. The card stand has changed the way I write forever. I use notecards for my daily writing exercises (each one takes approximately 250 small handwritten words to fill), but also to organize my thesis material. For example, in the front row are four calendar cards, dividing my first year in Oslo into quarters. As we travel, learn, meet people, and experience life in the city, I record important days so that I may easily maintain the order for my book.

The yellow globe is a holdover from the days, not so long ago, when I had to imagine being elsewhere in the world. Now the elsewhere is outside my window. You can see the turret of our neighboring building just across the street. In midsummer, this room never gets truly dark. The sun falls below the horizon, but the sky remains violet, too bright for stars. From my desk I can hear church bells, fog horns from the harbor, and the number 19 tram as it rattles up to the Riddervoldsplass stop every fifteen minutes or so.

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

You can see that the space is fully utilized (read: cluttered). It's not a large desk, but it's as much space as I want to attempt to control. The spot of color at the lower left is a stack of postcards waiting to be mailed. I send about 10 postcards a month through the Postcrossing program. Not only is it fun to send mail to strangers, but the cards I receive through the same program lend me some serious inspiration for my own writing! I keep all the cards that arrive in the mail taped to the wall behind me.

Books that I keep at hand for inspiration are: Contact! by Jan Morris, The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, Zen and the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, a book of Hemingway quotes on writing, and Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston. When I come across a quote that will serve me well to remember (and often!), I write it on a card and tape it below my window, exactly in my line of sight. The quote hanging there currently is:

"It is the better and truer part of the labour of a writer from a new place to work out what his material is, to wring substance from the unwritten-about and unregarded local scene." - V.S. Naipaul

Finally, there is a photo of my husband taken in Yosemite National Park on our first multi-pitch climb together. We were halfway up Hermaphrodite Flake in Tuolumne Meadows only a couple of springs ago. The air was cold, but we were chasing the sky, and as we climbed above the shadow line, the sun found us on the granite and thawed our aching fingers and stinging cheeks. It's a photo of the man I love helping me strive for a goal that many might find unattainable. It's a metaphor of my life here and now.

I don't chain myself to my desk. Some of my favorite blog entries and essays have been written from bed, from the couch, from Jonathan's desk. The creative instinct strikes and it is my imperative as a writer to follow it. But when it comes time to do the serious business of the working writer, not the fun, bleeding and breathing work of writing, but the damned revision, I go to my desk, my window, the cranberry cushion on my chair. It gives me hope and a place to breathe.

Audrey Camp is a freelance writer and American expat living in Oslo, Norway. She received her BA in English from UC Davis and her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Audrey is currently working toward an MA in English and American Literature at the University of Oslo. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines, literary journals, and anthologies, and she received the Irrgrønn Flash Fiction Award at the Irish Literature Festival in Oslo in 2014. She is the co-author of Startup Guide Oslo (October 2016) and Startup Guide Vienna (March 2017), each a comprehensive overview of the entrepreneurial scene in a fast-growing European capital. Audrey has blogged about writing, climbing, travel, faith and motherhood for more than ten years at The Girl Behind the Red Door, and she has also written about expat life in a monthly column for The Foreigner. In 2017, Audrey was elected Chair of Democrats Abroad Norway.

Contact Audrey

audrey.camp@gmail.com

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