Headspace & the Hand of Glory

Virginia Woolf made an interesting point about having a room of one’s own. A couple of people have asked me recently where I write–possibly they’re a little concerned I write only by the light of a hand of glory in a disused tomb somewhere (which, if I’m entirely honest, might just be my ideal study…), and last night I found myself trying to describe the chaos I tend to work in to a friend over the phone.

I’ve always liked the Guardian’s “Writers’ Rooms” feature, and for me the idea of seeing someone’s creative workspace is fascinating. Be it artists’ studios, musicians’ recording rooms or writers’ desks, I love the window it gives into someone else’s life.

So, allowing for the fact that the camera on my Blackberry is beyond absurd (and I’ll try and replace the photos with something a little less soft-focus, as soon as I can filch the Other Half’s much-better-camera-phone), here’s mine. Chances are that if you’ve read one of my stories, it was written here. (Except for “Cloth of Heaven”. That was written at 6am one Saturday morning, lying on the landing floor. I don’t entirely remember why, but it was.  True dat.)

The desk is tidy, because otherwise it annoys the hell out of me. The floor, however, is not. But fortunately you can’t see the floor in this picture, so that can be our little secret.


Either side of the desk, I’ve got a couple of bookshelves–one where most of the “proper” books live (for which read: anything even remotely worthy. It’s where all my Classics and my Anglo-Saxon hang out, drinking anything they can get their endpapers on and generally carousing until all hours) and one where my “practical” books live:

Hides a multitude of sins, that one does, including a book on poisonous herbs and four on mythology. Apparently, it’s also where my Scrabble set and longbow bracer have been hiding for the last six months. Who’d-a thunk?

Anyway, the point of this self-indulgence is that, all being well, I’ll be setting up a new room of my own to write in soon, and I want to eulogise this one a little. It’s bloody cold and there are far too many spiders in it (and the Other Half’s paperwork has an alarming tendency to breed in the drawers) but it’s been mine.

The other point, of course, is that I’d like to see *your* space: maybe we could all make a project of it? An informal version of Writers’ Rooms for the interwebs: whether you write a lot or a little, whether you’re a pro or a semi, or a for-the-sheer-joy-of-it-er. And not just writers–artists too: anyone who uses a creative space, whether it’s a desk or an office or a corner of the kitchen table. Take a snapshot, put it on your own blog & send me the link…

Where do you do what you do?



  1. I wish I had a room to write in.

    I have a room. And I write in it, but it’s not a writers room. Know what I mean?

  2. It is interesting to see where other people work. I work more on the move. My general a-little-bit-everywhere lifestyle means that I work in a variety of places, and I have a habit of wearing them out. Especially my bedsittingroom. By which I mean to say that I don’t keep my desk as neat as yours, and sometimes it just becomes unpleasant to do anything but fuck about at. To which my response is usually to just go work somewhere else.

    I will try and get a photo, though, as I like the idea. I did set the place up, initially, to be a nice workspace. Hell, when I moved in, I painted two whole new pictures just to make it feel right. Trouble is, I seem to have worn down the rechargeable batteries on my camera, so it might take me a little while…

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