Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Where I Write

A friend told me recently she had been thinking of me as she watched a movie about a writer who worked at a desk overlooking East Hampton in Long Island. I laughed. If only I could have a big mahogany desk overlooking the Hamptons. It's such a lovely idea, staring out a window at Natures beauty in one of the most expensive areas of the world.

I write in scraps of space and time. I can edit, hone and rewrite in the evenings sitting with the family but to get that first draft down I need to be on my own - no interruptions. Sometimes during the paying job's working week I get up early (not too often anymore mind!) I often sit up long after the world is asleep and write wrapped up in a duvet in my sitting room in the silence of the night. I unplug all electrical appliances barring the laptop - if it's poetry I'm working on I use pencil and unlined paper and play with the words that way, scratching out, arrowing words up and down, juggling.

At the weekends I will sit propped up in bed for an hour or so and write before I rise. If I get up and dressed suddenly all sorts of ridiculous domestic trivia seems to get in my way (I'm lying - it is called procrastinating!). On my 'writing day' - the unpaid day I have stolen for myself from the working week I head to one of the many libraries in Fingal (I especially like Rush) and read and write there for three or four hours. This morning I spent in Fighting Words and now I will write sitting by the fire in my living room for several hours. I have to stop before 8pm otherwise I won't sleep and be exhausted in work the following day. Jemser will cook dinner - a little worried about him actually, he cleaned the deep fat fryer yesterday (it was carcinogenic it was so dirty) and said he got great satisfaction from it! You'd want to see it - it is pristine, looks like it just came out of the box, son#1 and I tease him terribly about it.

Sometimes at weekends when I can find a few hours together I sit on a chair in my very untidy unused box-room with my legs stretched over to the single bed. I tried getting rid of the bed and putting in a desk - but the desk (a small battered pine kitchen table) became the receptacle for every bit of rubbish in the house and I had nowhere for visitors to sleep - or for myself to sleep when Jemser attempts to frighten the whole estate with his snoring. So the table was dumped and the bed went back in. The room is so small it can only take a single bed, a chair and a bedside locker. That room is where I wrote most of 'The Heron's Flood' available here - I occasionally write in coffee shops while waiting to pick up sons #1 or #2 from some activity. I have written in my car with Lyric FM on in the background. So I suppose at this stage, yeah - definitely - I can consider myself committed to writing. I probably should be committed when I re-read how I fit it in, maybe dedicated is a better word.

Whatever. But whether one writes in a twenty million dollar house in the Hamptons or a cold tiny boxroom in a 3 bed semi-detached in Dublin the only way the work will be done is by applying ones fingers to the keyboard and ones bum to the seat. Worldly wisdom for the day.

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