“Writing Room. A genie has granted your wish to build your perfect space for reading and writing. What’s it like?”
I suppose the ‘proper’ response to this latest of ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts’ would be to describe something austere, devoid of anything so frivolous that it may keep the artist from his muse. A garret perhaps, or something along the lines of Karl Marx’s desk in the British Library. Maybe Roald Dahl’s shed.
Jane Austen’s table would be a bit too self-denying for me, though:
Not for me, I’m afraid. I had a look at the writing rooms of some other prominent authors and they didn’t exactly stint themselves. Rudyard Kipling, anybody?
Let’s be honest, what we’re really talking about here is not merely a writing room but a man cave.
But before we get to the wish list, let me explain how things stand at the moment. As regards reading, I am largely paperless and quite peripatetic. The iPad – that which you would have to prise from my cold, dead hand – contains just about all my reading matter. I read wherever I happen to be and whenever I run out of more pressing matters that require my attention, such as sleeping, looking out of the window or watching ‘Pointless’.
The writing part is a little more ‘anchored’, however, and to explain it properly I need to share with you some of the domestic arrangements here at Brokedown Palace. We have on the upper floor what we grandly call an ‘atelier’. This workroom, which runs the entire length of the house – something over 40 feet – has a very high ceiling at one end but, due to the steeply sloping roof, a very low one at the other.
I am allowed the run of the shallow end.
This is entirely fair, not only because my needs are simple but also because the fabric storage facility has to go somewhere. I have a desk on which sits my laptop, and it is there – or here, if you will – that the aphorisms are honed and polished, the iambic pentameter carefully scanned and the infinitives resolutely left unsplit. There is also a blank piece of wall, which happens to be just large enough to take an English Heritage blue plaque. Well, you never know.
Don’t get me wrong. I am perfectly happy with these working conditions, but I would be neither human nor in possession of a Y chromosome if I did not sometimes think idly about how it could be even further improved. Nothing too extravagant, of course, but since WordPress brought up the subject in the first place, in an ideal world I wouldn’t mind:
- A large flatscreen TV with a satellite dish on the other end of it. This is necessary to allow me to
watch footballkeep abreast of current events ( it would obviously be permanently tuned to Sky SportsNews).
- A very squishy leather chesterfield, on which, during the short breaks I would permit myself away from the keyboard, I could read, think and take power naps.
- A set of very large and very expensive speakers, not to mention highly efficient soundproofing. You know why.
- Oh, and a corkscrew.
Now, am I being unreasonable?