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Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Writing Den; What's Yours?


Whether luck or prudence provided me with a room of my own is for others to determine. My suspicion is that, in common with most things in life, it's a mixture of these things. Be that as it may, I have the good fortune to have a room in which I can lock myself away from other concerns when I write.

It's not ideal. Small, with a window, behind me, that overlooks the end of the drive with the fence between us and the neighbours beyond and the garage door to the right. As I sit, at a desk built from a flat-pack kit bought some twenty or so years ago, I face the door into the hallway of our bungalow. At present, because I'm writing this before my wife and daughter have emerged from sleep, I have that door closed. Hanging from a hook on the back is a hand drawn map of the land I'm using to set my epic fantasy. Beside that, a cork board bears a few documents as aids in my everyday writing as well as a collage I made as part of the creative aspect of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way course I'm currently undertaking. It depicts those things I most want in life and is intended as both motivator and reminder of why I do this thing; writing. Next to that is a portrait of my wife and a couple of self-designed posters to act as reminders about certain of my less positive aspects - positive statements to keep me on track.

A large, four drawer cabinet sits below these, housing an assortment of things that have nothing to do with my writing; it lives here as the only suitable location for such a metal monstrosity. Utilitarian but exceedingly useful.

Directly in front of the desk a small chest of drawers stores various bits and pieces and acts as base for my printers. Printers? Yes. A monochrome multifunction laser printer for my physical submissions; it gives the best quality text. And a colour inkjet for my drafts and to print off those things that need to be in colour, including photographs.

My desk holds the computer, which actually sits on the desk as there's no room on the floor, where my feet rest on a plastic footrest. A pair of headphones sits on top of the computer box, for those times I want to exclude all external noise, playing the music I have recorded onto the system. My flat screen monitor is directly ahead, on one of those rotating stands that allows it to be moved out of the way. The speakers sit either side and the mouse, along with a graphics pad rest to my right. The box of gubbins that projects the internet signal to my wife and daughter's computers also lurks there, under the monitor. A document stand rises with various bits of essential paperwork to the left and a coaster holds a glass of water (I never drink alcohol in here, though wine is stored in a rack just behind the door.)

I have pens, pads and post-it notes at hand either behind me on the windowsill or on the desk itself. The drawers to my right hold all the essential stationery and other stuff I might need.

The walls on either side are lined from floor to ceiling with shelves bearing most of my books. My essential reference volumes are within easy reach for all those occasions I need to consult an oracle.

I play music as I write. Not because I listen to it, but because it excludes those external sounds that might otherwise distract me. I have two playlists. One mostly of popular music and giving 2 days of tunes if played constantly. The other contains classical music and would last for a day and a half if played without stopping. I play them alternately and use the random selection option so I never know what track is coming next.

A radiator at my back keeps me warm in winter and the window above it can be opened for fresh air and cooling breezes in summer.

There is little decoration, largely because there's very little spare wall space. But there's room for a few pictures and I intend to fill that soon. I also have a couple of small statuettes; one a porcelain slip cast in white of a female torso that I picked up from a potter in the Yorkshire Dales many years ago. The other is a fairly primitive carving of a kneeling woman, which I found in a shop on the Greek island of Rhodes, a favourite holiday destination. I like it for its simplicity and natural quality.

So, there you have it. The place I use to create my works.

Is it ideal? Of course not. I'd love a large library room, with an antique desk and plenty of space to spread out, and a view overlooking the sea, to which I could walk in minutes. But that's the dream and it'll take a lot more work to make it reality.

But it is my own room. My private space. I can relax in here and do as I wish. My wife and daughter respect my need for solitary times and rarely interrupt me, unless they have some sudden computer issue that needs sorting or some domestic emergency arises that I'm best suited to resolve.

I have my space and I make great use of it. I admire those writers, usually women, who are forced to carry out their craft at the dining table with family as constant distraction. To create under such conditions would be almost impossible for me, and I salute their dedication and ability.

So, where do you write? Share your space with others who visit this site and see if we can't, between us, inspire some creativity.  

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