Amick bought this house when he returned to his native Ann Arbor in 1997 after earning a master's from George Mason University. He set his desk kitty-corner to the doorway--"I've got gunslinger syndrome," he confesses--and put up a framed tribal map of the U.S. and a signed poster of the Clash. (He met the band backstage as a teenager.) These, along with Amick's vintage toys, tchotchkes, and kitsch--including the "old cheesecake photo" that inspired Nothing But a Smile--are now stored in the family's new house.
Though he did most of his composing in his office, Amick says, he tended to wander around the house while he wrote. He occasionally worked in a bedroom alcove (at a Victorian secretary that once served an ancestor in the Maine Senate), in the home's guest room, and even in the bathtub.
Amick admits that he doesn't set an alarm, but says he won't go to bed, even if it's five-thirty in the morning, until he's satisfied that he's met his daily work quota. "The last day I didn't write was five-and-a-half years ago, when my son Huck was born."