I’m beginning to yearn for a desk.
Oddly enough, I do have one but, for reasons too complicated to go into, it’s in a friend’s garage hundreds of miles away. I left it there for a few weeks five years ago.
In the meantime, I have written at whatever’s available. A kitchen table sometimes but, mostly, my knees. I should explain I’m talking about a laptop. I don’t sit with a whole desktop computer on my knees.
Over the years, I’ve prided myself on being able to write anywhere and under any conditions. But I could do with feeling more settled now. In the new house, I’ve envisaged where the desk might go, beside the window with a view of the bird feeder in the tree-filled garden.
It would be nice too to feel more organised, with everything tucked away in drawers, all the pens in a jar, notebooks piled neatly and reference books all in a row. But, as matters stand, I’m always surrounded by clutter and not really in the zone.
That is to say, ideally you’re supposed to have a place that your mind associates with the task. This is particularly the case with creative writing. By that I mean “proper fiction”, written by proper writers, not my flights of fancy and cod-philosophical doodles.
All the same, I’m sure that, when I clear last night’s dinner plates, newspaper cuttings, broken reading glasses, chargers, miscellaneous wires and crumpled paperbacks to make a space on the sofa, my poor wee – quite tiny, I’m told – brain says: “What in the name of goodness is going on now?”
It’s all of a clutter. You say: “What, your brain?” No, madam, my writing space. The thing about my brain or mind – and I think I can speak authoritatively on the subject – is that, after initial confusion amidst the surrounding clutter, as long as there’s a clear space between my eyes and the screen, I find my focus quickly and tune everything else out.
It’s one of the few things I can actually do. You know how hopeless I am at everything else. Gardening, DIY, working my mobile phone, driving, organising, cooking: rubbish at it all. But at least my brain slips effortlessly into gear when I need to scribble anything doon.
All the same, at the moment, I don’t know my place. I’d like to get my feet under the table or, rather, the desk. Big, solid desk too. Not one of these flimsy pine things. Something that says: “Here is a man of substance, and very likely with a focused brain, ken?”
Accordingly, I’m hoping at last to get my old desk out of my mate’s garage. It might mean hiring a van, which rarely goes well. You’ll be able to follow my progress by the sound of sirens and the drone of emergency helicopters overhead.
There are hundreds more books too – last thing I need – and more recent additions have included my vacuum cleaner, DVD player, tool boxes (I do try) and hedge trimmers: an eclectic collection, dumped thither in a dither.
But, as soon as I have my desk, all the disorder and confusion will be behind me. I’ll be organised, full of great ideas and terrific insights into life’s mysteries. Watch this space. And stop rolling your eyes, madam.