A while back I came across this interesting pictorial feature on the spaces where writers write. Perhaps it is just the myopia and delusions of self-importance produced by spending days on end in an office trying to bang out a thesis which leads me to believe that others might be interested in such a thing, but I needed a diversion, and snapped a few pictures of the space where I spend a good part of my days. Not quite as inspiring as some of the photographs from The Guardian (Hilary Mantel’s is among my favourites), but a place that I have grown rather attached to…
This is looking in from the kitchen. We got the picture of the tree on the wall from Ten Thousand Villages at some point and I rather like that it is the first thing I see when I walk in. It sort of serves as a reminder that what I do in this space ought somehow to contribute to light and life (some days the message gets through more clearly than others, needless to say…). You can also see a little part of one of the kids’ drawings to the right of the tree—another reminder that the world consists of more than what I happen to be thinking and writing about on any given day. The rolled up mattress on the floor is not for personal nap breaks (believe it or not) but for visitors when they come. We have limited space, so the office does double duty as a guest room from time to time.
Here’s the view from the window. Quite a chaotic mess of books, beverage containers, receipts, cereal boxes (!), and who knows what else, but inspiration still does manage to emerge from time to time. A whole bunch of theological metaphors come to mind (light out of darkness, order out of chaos, good out of evil…), but I will resist the temptation toward any more over-dramatization/theologizing than I am already, undoubtedly, guilty of.
And finally, looking back toward the window. We had to pick up another bookshelf in our second year out here due to my inability to restrain myself at bookstores. “Professional expenses” or “monuments to my fiscal irresponsibility?” Ah well, who’s to say. A freezer may seem like an odd thing to have in an office, but there was nowhere else to put it and it serves as a handy place for accumulating miscellaneous clutter (a laptop and my son’s table hockey game, for example!).
All in all, it’s a space that I enjoy being in most of the time. There are days where time spent in here gets tedious and frustrating, but all in all I can’t (or at least shouldn’t) complain. The time will come soon enough when I must emerge from my cave and re-enter the real world. No matter how sick I may be of my thesis in the present, I suspect that I will then look back on these writing days and this writing space fondly.
(Thanks for indulging me.)