Scriptorium n a writing room (Chambers dictionary)
My writing room is our cupboard-under-the stairs – okay, okay, get the Harry Potter jokes out of your system now! It’s a bit smaller than a box room but big enough to fit my desk and bookcase alongside the shoe rack and coat pegs whilst not feeling claustrophobic. After an abortive attempt at being a secondary school teacher in 2007 (the prescriptive curriculum crushed my creativity, but the kids weren’t too bad, actually), I decided to get serious about my writing. And cleared out the cupboard-under-the-stairs to make my very own scriptorium (love that word – think I need to get a plaque made with it inscribed!).
Oh, the junk. Oh, the age of the junk. Oh, what c**p my dad does keep! He is a bit of a hoarder, bless him, and so our family motto is “Just in case.” Which means empty boxes are stored “just in case” we need them in the future; receipts so old that the ink has faded are filed away “just in case” something needs to be returned; and plastic carrier bags are balled up into a heap “just in case” we should ever run out of them... To be fair, from his point of view I must seem like a whirlwind, whipping in and making on-the-spot decisions with a clear-cut vision for an end result that he can’t imagine. Still, he did get to sit on the sofa while I brought in boxes for him to sort through (with piles on the floor clearly labelled ‘Keep’, ‘Chuck’ and ‘Recycle’), and I did the hard labour.
After a couple of days, I could get past the doorway (kidding!) and when the cupboard was empty, I cleaned, mopped and painted. I moved my computer and desk down from my bedroom, set up a reference bookcase and placed the folders with all my work on the shelves. I stood back, satisfied. My brand-new writing room, just waiting for me and my muse. I sighed, because as new and dedicated and pristine as it was, something was missing...
Me – my personality characterised by my mess. Forget about my dad’s junk, I too have a penchant for the lived-in look. Pens, paper, notebooks and journals; framed photographs, books and a collection of (as yet empty) files (writers love stationery!); lists, corkboards and scrapbooks – all are necessary for my writing life. So, too, is art – photography, paintings (particularly landscapes), sketches and even scultpures are so inspiring to me: they whisper, telling the beginning of the scene’s story, and it’s for me to listen and write the rest. Add to that my need for witty and wise quotations (see last post), and my newly-painted walls were no longer bare.
Now, to any of you who love a minimalist decor, this photo of my scriptorium is really going to ache your eyes – but I thought you might like to see where my writing takes place; to have a peek at the portal to my creative world where I lose myself (and those of you who know me well know I have zero navigational skills, so it’s no wonder I’m always in a world of my own!). I change the pictures and quotes when the mood takes me, but this snap is recent, so you’re getting the real flavour.
So, here is my scriptorium – and be thankful you get to read the blog on the screen, rather than fight for space to stand beside me as I type!