All my photos for the “My creative Space” project seem to be yellow, and badly lit. That’s because my creative space continues to be the kitchen table (which you can see also doubles as a much used & stained craft table). My studio space is lying unused because not only am I not sewing or painting or drawing much at the moment, but also because Lily has more or less stopped having day time sleeps and if I want to do anything I need to do it at the kitchen table while she potters about or watches television. I am now completely used to writing while having a conversation about the cat on the front deck, or why a pineapple lolly (pictured above) isn’t actually made out of real pineapple or negotiating the eating of an extra piece of apple before we move on to the yoghurt. I can write amongst the chaos of breakfast dishes and cut ‘n’ paste projects. My laptop has a permanent sticky (literally) “|” key due to a blob of wayward marmalade. But when you gotta write, you gotta write.
In an ideal world I would lock myself away in a room of my own and bang away at this book and that day will come, I am sure. In the meantime, the soundtrack to this book definitely includes a good dose of the Playschool theme song.
Paper cutting, on the otherhand, is a different matter. If a child dare talk to me while I am hunched over my cutting board and I accidentally cut through a delicate little curl, or frond or papery pigtail then beware the snarling she-mother-beast.
Look at some of these writers’ beautiful rooms (photographs by Eamonn McCabe from the Guardian’s Writers’ Rooms series):
Jane Gardam was one of my favourite authors as a teenager. “I don’t sit in state at my desk very much. I move around the room when it gets too untidy, like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”.
Louis De Bernieres has a spot in a small shed in his garden, overlooking the vegetable garden and orchard.
Edna O’brien’s room looks so snug: “Often I cannot find a book that I urgently need and have to repair to John Sandoe’s to buy another copy, which means that I have four or five editions of my favourite books… Am I alone in spending a disproportionate amount of my life looking for things?” – um, no.
Rose Tremain has a room full of colour with a view of the garden; “Often, I lift my head from the work in hand and gaze out at the garden. All writers spend great drifts of time staring into space – a habit not tolerated easily by those who aren’t writers – and my green space falls away towards a dark shrubbery and a phenomenal Scots pine tree, which was probably a sapling when Charles II was on the throne.”
J G Ballard’s room where he wrote his novels for 49 years. “The first drafts of my novels have all been written in longhand and then I type them up on my old electric. I have resisted getting a computer because I distrust the whole PC thing. I don’t think a great book has yet been written on computer.”
Jane Austen’s desk. “From this table the revised manuscripts of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice went to London to be published in 1811 and 1813. From this table too came Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion. Here she noted down the encouraging comments of neighbours – Mrs Bramston of Oakley Hall, who thought S&S and P&P “downright nonsense”, and “dear Mrs Digweed” who volunteered that “if she had not known the author, she could hardly have got through Emma”.”
Roald Dahl’s shed – “The table near to his right hand had all kinds of strange memorabilia on it, one of which was part of his own hip bone that had been removed; another was a ball of silver paper that he’d collected from bars of chocolate since he was a young man and it had gradually increased in size. There were various other things that had been sent to him by fans or schoolchildren.”
I also love Raymond Brigg’s room, Carmen Calill’s colourful room, and Margaret Drabble’s peaceful study. Mark Haddon has my kind of studio, and Will Self’s post-it note covered work space really inspires me.
I think I may have blogged this Guardian special before but I can’t find it in my archives and it’s worth repeating anyway.
Thanks Kirsty for hosting My Creative Space! Sorry I went on a bit.