Jason Gurley

By day, I'm a user experience designer; by evenings/weekends, I write novels from my home in Scappoose, Ore. My newest is Awake in the World, published February 2019 by Roaring Brook Press; my previous novel, Eleanor, was published by Crown in 2016 and has since been translated into German, Portuguese, and Turkish. I’m currently working on a new project.

Scenes from my office


This morning, I wrote from a coffee shop. "Wrote" is still the operative word, though technically I'm rewriting. It's all writing. Or it's all rewriting. Whatever the famous person said. It was Hemingway, or Sontag, or someone. Anyway: after a few thousand (re)written words, I came back home, and before I dug back into the novel-in-progress, I wrote a bit in my journal. 

After twenty minutes, I heard little footsteps on the stairs, and then the basement door opened. Squish drew nearer my office, singing (to the tune of "Deck the Halls"):

I'm coming to visit my Daddy
in his oooo-ooo-oo-ffice
He doesn't know I'm coming
but Mama said I could, so now I'm here

I invited her in, and she began marching around my office, seeking science books for our "lessons". (She's decided that I'm going to teach her space things, but in her mind, I do so in a formal classroom setting, with a blackboard and everything. My office has a whiteboard and loads of books,'s her classroom, I guess.) 

I sort of love how much she loves hanging out in this room with me. She knows I have work to do, and deadlines to meet; she just wants to be near me, doing her own thing, while I do them. So "space class" is postponed for now, while she hangs out in my yellow chair, reading Tom Gauld's (glorious) Mooncop

Squish would like readers of this blog to know that she would have chosen to sit in my red chair, except "it's full of all your grownup books." Which...yeah, it is. The red chair has become my 2018 yet-to-be-read repository. There are two distinct sets of books there: the backmost towers are all written by women or authors of color. I was a bit discouraged last year that my intentions to read more authors who didn't look like me didn't go as well as I'd meant for it to go (I read a lot of thrillers and graphic novels while in the midst of writing Awake in the World, and they skewed my numbers pretty badly towards the usual white-male demographic). So this year I resolved to do better, and it's gone really well, so far, as you can see by my reading list. 

The shorter stacks in front don't play by the same rule. Those are thematic: they're all books about the workplace, or they're epistolary, or they're both. I'm reading my way through them as a bit of research for a project I think I'll begin later this year, after I've finished the first draft or two of my current project. 

Honestly, the chair's full because my bookshelves, are, too, and I needed the extra space. But I kind of like how disheveled it makes my office feel. Like Real Work gets done here, even though at the moment I'm writing this blog post instead of doing said Real Work. In fact, In the time it's taken me to write this, Squish has finished Mooncop.

"Give me something else?" she asked me, and I suggested this, which I hope she'll get a little lost in...


This place used to be mine

A change of pace, or not