The last time I moved house I wrote about the ‘New & Improved Inertia HQ’ as I had moved into a home that could finally host my array of books, folders and reams of paper and still have room to breathe. It was the first time I had a warm, south-facing room that shed light on my space and breathed new life into my work. As a writer, having a creative space is essential to your development. Not many people know how isolating it can be gestating an idea from inception to completion, and just how many hours involve your arse glued firmly to your seat in the hopes of creating something that originally burned at the back of your mind. That space is yours to be as free as you want, not confined to the other machinations of the household.
When I left my last house back in 2013, I was more than ready to move. I was moving on from a lot of things and looking back now I can see I was moving toward new and better things, though it may have felt a little like limbo at the time. It’s said that we expand into the space that we live, and I realised that when packing. Despite lingering with many an item anticipating whether I just might need it in the future though I had never used it since the day I bought it, I eventually began to realise through various alcohol-induced existential crises that materialism and possessions are a heavy burden on a life that doesn’t require them. Certain sentimentalism surrounds particular possessions and that’s what we want to retain, but the majority of what I owned I could live without and easily replace if needed. As I was moving on to both pastures new and unknown, I shed a lot weight (sadly not from my waist). One of things I shed was my old desk. Well, technically not my desk as it was my little brother’s but somehow it ended up in my hands and travelled with me. I’d had it since the early days of writing and in some strange way I had kind of a superstitious attachment to it, believing that I was always doing my best work when sat in front of it. Yet despite my belief in its unfounded power, when I moved house in 2013, it went. Except it didn’t just leave the house in one piece destined for some other writer to stumble upon it in a used furniture shop – no, it left the house in bits. I took great delight and exultation in smashing it to pieces, each unwanted manuscript striking a blow against the wood that housed me for many years in complete isolation. In hindsight it wasn’t the best move, but at the time it was very therapeutic for me.
Since moving, my creativity has kind of lived without a home but it hasn’t stifled me. I’ve sat on the sofa with a pad and pen or at the kitchen table with my laptop and streams of scattered scrap paper, and I’ve enjoyed the freedom that has come from not being bound to a space. But I have missed it – as I said, a writer is empowered by a creative space and it wasn’t until I found out I was getting a desk again that I realised how much I’ve missed it.
I’m often lost for words when it comes to my fiancée and just how lucky I am to have her – that’s why I locked it down and put a ring on it. Through her observations seeing me scatter my writing across various parts of the house like a dog hiding a bone, perhaps coupled with the fact that I was often getting in the way trailing leads when sat at the kitchen table, she went out of her way to purchase me a 200-year old Georgian desk completed with posh chair and carved out a corner of our little world in which to house me. I was gobsmacked when she told me – I had been contemplating getting a desk again but with the wedding and honeymoon to pay for I was happy to continue being a floater for another year. When I was told I was getting a desk and creative space again I could feel that tickle in my stomach re-igniting, and all of a sudden all of the ideas that I had that might have felt a little stale were re-invigorated at the prospect of having my own space again to create.
The desk arrived and Caroline dedicated her one real day off to paint and transform an aging desk into a desk fit for the modern world and modern writer. I couldn’t tell you the correct colour that it actually is as my Dulux scale only has about 10 colours on it, but it’s a light grey with a black runner across the top to stop my laptop doing damage. It is the perfect space for me – confined to a small area but with enough room to house all that I need to make my dream a reality. I’ve already started work on a second short story and have also begun to edit the first draft of one of my scripts and we’re only 17 days in to 2015 – it might not seem like much but it’s closer to what I achieved for the whole of 2014, and I attribute this to the feeling this desk has given me.
I don’t suppose many would understand and might be thinking, “It’s just a fucking desk”, but any writers or creative people that require a space will understand. I feel more inspired than I have done in a long time, and it’s all thanks to the woman I get to call Mrs W.
Though the temptation to spend long hours writing and re-writing will forever be there, my real challenge will be striking the right balance between work and play. As well as helping me to achieve my goals in 2015, the desk will also serve as a constant reminder to me that the love and thought put into this project by the woman in my life might sometimes be waiting for me to put the pen down and join her for a cup of tea and a film on the sofa.
ADDENDUM: Since writing this post, Caroline has added a bit of ‘Wall of Fame’ mural, showing all of the goals I’ve achieved so far as a reminder that if I ever feel like I’m dipping slightly, there’s a reminder in front of me of how far I’ve come. Isn’t she just perfect?