While living and working in Edinburgh in 2008 I set out to write one million words in 366 days... but only managed 800,737.

Monday, September 29, 2008

This Is Where It All Happens, II

Something I didn’t mention in my Status Reports was my writing situation physically. Moving, then taking off for Greece and returning to a full working week isn’t exactly the time to be mildly inspired to write extended prose narratives. The problem was exacerbated by the fact there was no obvious place for me to write in our new one room apartment.
I’d figured that anything would be better than our last flat, where we essentially did everything except cook and go to the bathroom in our bedroom. Sure, there was a huge desk for me with a mini-bar (pros and cons), but behind me there was a large LCD TV and a girlfriend… two pretty mean distractions.
Now we have everything to ourselves (woo-hoo!) but it’s not exactly spacious. Until this weekend, there were also boxes and suitcases lying around, making it feel even more like we had signed up to live in a hallway closet.
I did most of my writing at the kitchen table this week because it was the only desk-like surface available. I could wheel my chair underneath, spread out my notebooks, waggle my mouse. It was great, except, as you can see, the distractions were no longer behind me but in my line of sight.
I couldn't face the other way because that would block access to the kitchen and then how would cups of tea magically appear on my desk?
I tried other places too. On the bed (not stable enough, less comfortable than it sounds), in the unfilled bath (cold, uncomfortable, ridiculous), and even in the toilet (actually the most comfortable spot of the lot, quiet too).
Kooky caption competition: If it’s good enough for Vladimir Nabokov, it’s good enough for me.
We measured the bedroom and figured out we could fit a desk the length of my arm beside the bed. Do they make desks the length of my arm? I wondered. The answer is: depends on your definition of desk. We are lucky that there’s a Salvation Army Furniture and Electrical store just down the road from us and we spent a good half hour there yesterday measuring all many of wooden items to determine their suitability as writing desks. In the end, we settled on a semi-circular deal which is exactly the length of my arm. I think it was originally intended to be placed in a hallway and have the telephone sit on top of it. There’s a wee draw for a notepad, or perhaps a spare pair of keys. I’ve turned it round so the flat side faces me, and stashed an assortment of USB devises and cords which the modern writer uses from time to time in the drawer.
The posi I now inhabit will take a bit of getting used to, I think. The fact I stare at a 45 degree wall messes with my eyes right now, and may be contributing to the kink in my neck. Still, it’s less distracting that the huge mirror I stared into for the last nine months. It’s almost a delight to see myself in the medicine cabinet mirror now. Almost.

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