I follow Rin Simpson’s great blog Now I am thirty , not because I have a great deal in common with her age-wise (I most certainly do not) but because like her I have a desire to write the perfect crime novel. I also share her love of the printed word and enjoy the fact that even with a taste for the macabre she has the prettiest blog. She also comes up with some great ideas for blog posts and like the best of them (StickyFingers Gallery for example) she prompts her readers to get their own creative efforts online. Most recently she has come up with Where do you write?, and without wanting to lose your attention I recommend you give it a look now, and with her blessing I have pinched the idea for my latest post.
However (and I hope I haven’t already lost anybody) I know some of my readers would rather chew off their own right arm than sit down and write creatively. My husband, for example, would produce an Excel spreadsheet; my sister would draw a planting scheme for her garden. Still creative, but they could potentially perceive themselves excluded from this post. So, and I hope Rin will forgive me, I have extended the brief.
I would love it if you would have a look at my ramblings, and then in a few words tell me: where do you write? Do you have a special pen and need Muse full volume on your iPod? Or do you tap away at a laptop in complete silence? Where do you read? How do you find a little time to really get engrossed in someone else’s work? And where do you eat? Not mealtimes necessarily, or even proper food. Just that little moment when you feel the need to put something in your mouth just for the pleasure of it, so to speak.
This is what I have dreamt up:
Where do I write?
I write looking out over our pretty south-facing garden, filled with pots of geraniums, petunias and other plants purchased with no idea how to look after them. They have all survived. They give me hope.
I write in the cafe of the newly opened Waitrose in our little high street. As I wait for inspiration, I cradle a large Americano, extra shot with room for milk, in my cupped hands and gaze at the rather scrummy man at the table by the window. But he is not a poet. He is using a calculator, and keeps checking his Blackberry.
I write with Anna Ternheim playing on Spotify. I know you won’t have heard of her, but perhaps you should take a listen.
Where do I read?
I read in the dim light of the bedside lamp, my husband curled up against my side breathing gently as he falls asleep waiting in vain for me to mark the page and turn out the light.
I read curled up on the sofa whilst all around me watch Friends or Sex and the City, marvelling at how they can still find it funny even though they know the script almost off by heart.
I read in the workshop of my daughter’s fiddle teacher as she has her lesson, the air filled with the pungent smell of linseed oil or wood glue. Surrounded as I am by the bodies of instruments in various states of repair and decay, I feel the breath of hundreds of ghostly musicians turn the pages, and I shiver.
I read in the car to take my mind off the discomfort of being swung from side to side in my husband’s horrid heavy car. I soon feel sick.
Where do I eat?
I eat wherever the fancy takes me. It takes me everywhere.
On bad days I open the fridge door and eat chocolate buttons straight from their hiding place in the butter compartment.
I eat only after I have been weighed for the week, even though a sandwich weighs nothing.
I eat at night, just one special chocolate, as I lay reading in the dim light of the bedside lamp, my husband curled up at my side, breathing gently…
Photo: Marco Belluci