Okay, on to the actual place where you write, in my case my bedroom – the writing space is as pictured above. It’s a desk against a wall with a recessed window and some set in shelving for those all important books. The desk is an old office desk, which I painted turquoise. The all too important table top area was increased by simply adding a larger table top from a different table – yes, it’s not entirely logical, but I love my old desk and wanted to keep the drawer arrangement as it was. I also love the colour cream against the turquoise base. And so does Ziggy, my cat, as he’s a frequent visitor.
I have a roller blind shutting out the view – well, actually, there would be no view anyway, just the neighbouring house’s roughcast wall, but if I want to stretch my limbs and see what’s happening outside, or have a nosy, I have another window for that. Stephen King says a writer’s desk shouldn’t be central in a room, because art is a support system for life, not the other way round (paraphrasing from his On Writing here). So box ticked, but I do have a phone connection to save me running down the stairs…its pretty tough to not answer a ringing phone, and even if you manage it, you end up straining to hear the message left…then the inevitable – who is that? But mobile is off, the door is closed, well slightly ajar remembering access for Ziggy… But for the most part the world is shut out. And it’s a good feeling, tinged with a little anticipatory anxiety. You’re going into your writing ‘zone’.
I have a daylight lamp for murky winter days, and a sound generator for ambient relaxing waves and eastern chimes which I never use. But it stays, because one day I might. You know how it goes.
I have notebooks, course notes in folders, books on the craft of writing, my own typed-up and frequently amended notes in my precious turquoise middle drawer, sifted from tomes of reference coursework, and internet searches. There’s a standard thesaurus, plus books on grammar, though one of them is so in-depth I get lost in it, so I don’t venture in very often (the Slough of Despond springs to mind).
I also have a very useful, different kind of thesaurus called The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, which covers how to convey a wide variety of emotions in action and expression – a brilliant idea and very well put together, psychologically spot on, in my opinion. It leads you into this important area of description and then you get going on your own. Plus there’s a collection of books which I like for their narrative style, by authors I admire. I won’t list these as you’ll have your own.
Everything is in order on my desk, everything to hand, I can’t work in chaos. And there is the requisite ambient colour in my case. On the desktop of my laptop is a photograph I took of a nearby field in autumn, dripping with rain and hazed with mist – I put it on the desktop to get me into the mood for my current novel, the story beginning in late October with the ‘darkness’ setting in.
But there is something else in the space too. There is a touch of the theatrical, which happened unconsciously for the most part. I have a folded fan, black with roses on it, which I got for it’s exotic feel, and because I’d always wanted to own a fan. And on the wall is a gold-painted cast of a Venetian character wearing a tricorn hat, reminiscent of eighteenth century carnival and masquerade.
So, not wanting to delay any longer, we are ready to enter the fictive dream, which is where the space of the mind comes in. That’s in part 3, coming soon.