This is another post in our Author’s snapshots series on where authors write.
Bill Kirton writes here:
My room’s quiet and looks out onto the garden. It looks a mess but, in theory, I know exactly where to lay my hands on whatever it is I need. However, in practice, I put things in special places so that I’ll remember where they are. Then, when I need them, I can never find them. I need to rethink my approach.
On the walls are prints, paintings, photos of children, grandchildren, Flaubert, Baudelaire, Camus and a facsimile of a page of L’Education Sentimentale, with Flaubert’s amendments scribbled all over it. The wall beside the window is taken up with a huge poster for the film Germinal, a great book and a reminder of how nasty the gap between the haves and the have-nots is and always was.
I have two desks, at right angles to one another, the monitor on one, and a cushion on the other. So I sit with the keyboard on my lap and my feet plonked on the cushion. I’ve no idea why but the area on which the desks and chair stand is raised about a foot above ground level. That means you come into the room and are faced with this sort of dais to your right and a lower ‘pathway’ ahead of you around two sides of the room. I suppose whoever did it must have had a reason but, as a crime writer, all I can think is that someone may be buried underneath it.
In fact, stressing the importance of the space is rather strange because the act of writing is one of absorption, in which there’s a sort of loss of self, a lack of awareness of your surroundings or of time passing. But it’s obviously important to be in a place which is comfortable, secure and devoid of distractions in order to get that level of concentration. It doesn’t really matter what’s around you because, when characters come to life, events materialise, people and ideas evolve, there’s a wonderful mystery about it. Your fingers tap away and another chunk of fictional ‘reality’ gets created. It’s a reality totally disconnected from that of the desks, notepads, pictures, all the rest of it – but it’s a reality that’s been born amongst them. There’s an alchemy about the place where you write.