Where I write

This is the piece I wrote for Mapping the Words. Take a look. There might be a writer just around the corner from you.

The place I think of as my study is, in everyone else’s mind, the room where the best computer is kept and the place to turn on the WiFi. Our house is old, a child of 1969. We’ve not done a lot. The study has orange curtains. Very good, very solid orange curtains. The window sills are mission brown. The lightshade is a wavy beige thing something like an old fashioned hat at race day. The checked couch that came over the back fence when our neighbours moved to Singapore several years ago sits by one wall covered by as many throws and cushions as possible. The smell of after shave has finally worn off. There’s a toilet separated from the study by a sliding door. A toilet nobody uses, largely because it didn’t work for many years. Water would gush from the cistern merrily and without cease and because nobody could manage to turn the tap off, the float was held up by an old wooden school ruler. ‘That’s very MacGyver of you,’ said the plumber when we could finally afford him. I was both embarrassed and proud. But now nobody thinks to use the brand new toilet and I usually pretend it isn’t there.

So the study’s not that beautiful. But that doesn’t mean I want anyone else using the room. Doctor Who sits on my desk. (The Tenth Doctor, though I love them all.) He lost his sonic screwdriver a while back. There’s also a silver elephant and a Wangechi Mutu card with fox people. There’s an administrative pile of things to do. It only grows larger. And a notebook with Hokusai’s The Great Wave at Kanagawa on the front. There’s a bookshelf, of course, with knick-knacks and beautiful cards and lovely papers scattered around and about. And a green chair piled with writing notes and some relevant books I’m meant to read.

The view is mostly trees; lots of green with a bit of pool fence where, if I’m lucky, an Eastern Sea Dragon will defy the dogs. The dogs are usually in the sunniest spot on the deck. But they’ll come and sit outside the window if they’ve been inadvertently locked outside. Birds swoop across. Cockatoos, a kookaburra, sometimes a king parrot. Too idyllic? All that is often marred by the sound of a leaf blower or by the incessant rounds of renovation next door.

I don’t know that any of it inspires me. My inspiration’s as likely to come from a drive in the car or a supermarket shop. It finds its way into barely legible notes that, when translated to the page, seem less than imagined. But the study’s the place where my brain knows how to draw into itself. At least once it’s stopped requesting cups of coffee and a look at emails and twitter and a round or two of solitaire. The study’s a castle of mist with dreadful furnishings. And though nobody else knows it, it’s all mine.

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