The Queensland Writers Centre is again touring the blogs of Queensland writers, this time to catch a sneak glimpse into the writer's world: the desks, benches, or couches where the "magic" happens. While it seems rather strange that anyone would want to look at the pathetic bit of faux timber I call my desk, I admit to feeling more than a little intrigued at what everyone else's spaces will look like. That's voyeurism for you.
Something you should know before you sticky-beak at my desk: it looks clean, perhaps anally so. That's a bit of a sham. It doesn't normally look like that. I've just moved house, so everything is still more or less still where I put it when I set the desk up. I haven't had a chance to turn it into a bomb site yet. But, rest assured, I will. Soon.
Anyway, here it is:
It's a bit compact, I'll admit, but when space is at a premium—as it certainly is in my house—you write where you have to.
In the interest of clarifying what you're looking at, I'll point out a few features I consider essential for banging out a manuscript.
The computer is a notebook. Very important for when necessity calls for a couch or verandah sojourn. Quite a bit of my last novel was written not as my desk at all, but the house we were in was not as conducive to desk writing as this is.
You can't tell from the picture, but the seat tilts back allowing me to write with my feet on the desk. If I couldn't do that, I might not write anything at all. I'm a habitual chair tilter. I've fallen backwards off a number of chairs, so the tilting chair prevents making it a trend.
A guitar is always handy. Distractions are not necessarily a bad thing.
My notebook is open beside the keyboard. Without it I would have lost a number of stories to the vagaries of my memory. I also use it to map out characters and scenes. Seems to work better on paper than on screen.
Copies of the Macquarie Dictionary and the Style Manual on the bookshelf are primarily for for editing jobs. I've also got a copy of the Shorter Oxford, but it won't fit here. I have to keep it elsewhere. It would make my little bookshelf here sag.
Envelopes for the endless stream of submissions that flow from this space. Sometimes I wonder if writers are singlehandedly funding Australia Post.
Juggling balls—see guitar.
Photos of the kids. The top one is very out of date now, but it's such a nice picture I can't quite let it go.
A picture of me, drawn by my son: a blob with stick limbs. I'll let others judge its accuracy.
Rejection slips. I keep the good ones. Yes, there is such a thing. One in particular ends with "Great writing though." A lovely sentiment except for the last word.
A Flaming Lips poster for no apparent reason other than I like the design. And the band.
The cover of my story Coda, a piece by the talented photographer Bronwen Hyde. Even in my poor reproduction it still looks cool.
Blank CDs. One can never have too many.
So I guess that's the 50c tour. I really need to get back to work.