Today’s writing prompt from the WordPress Blogging University “Every Day Inspiration” course asks me to describe the place I write. I think I’ve described this place before, but I’ll go again, because I have nothing better to be doing right now.
I write in the junk room. I think before we lived in this house, this room was occupied by a teenage boy. There is a safe built into the old chimney breast in the corner of the room, which we cannot remove without knocking a considerable quantity of brickwork out of the wall. We have always placed furniture in front of it.
This room remains the only room we have never decorated. It is surrounded by shelves filled with ramshackle collections of miscellaneous detritus (now there’s a sentence!). Some of the shelves bow under the weight of books, magazines, and brick-a-brack that has for some reason been kept.
Behind me stands one of the original book cases from my first apartment – a proper stained pine bookcase – like those you might find in a second hand bookshop. It is filled with “my” books – my “to read” list, accompanied by numerous books about chess, the internet, science, manga, astronomy, and a variety of biographies and collected essays by the likes of Norman Mailer, and Truman Capote.
There are two desks in the room. One has a 2003 vintage iMac perched on it, attached to a ZIP drive. It still works perfectly, and is connected to the internet – not that it ever gets used of course. I had grand plans to use it as a “writing computer”, but the adjacent desk – that I’m sitting at right now – has an old desktop PC perched on it. I tend to sit at the PC to write for the blog, purely because I like the keyboard, and the chair is comfortable.
On the floor, next to the door of the room sits a dolls house, built by my other half’s grandfather for Christmas when she was about six years old. It’s one of her favourite stories – about how her brothers unwrapped their Christmas presents, and she didn’t appear to have as many, but she didn’t say anything. Eventually her Grandfather asked her to make him a cup of tea, and she wandered into the kitchen to discover the dolls house in the centre of the room, with a ribbon tied around it with a huge name label. It still makes everybody cry when she tells the story now. The dolls house needs serious renovation, after being played with by generations of children (ours had it too), and will no doubt be handed down.
I try to keep this room tidy. I say “try”, but in reality this is the junk room – the room things get put in when people come to visit. Things are shoved in here and forgotten about until I eventually throw them in the rubbish outside.
Somewhere along the line the children started to refer to the junk room as “Dad’s room” – probably because we kept important paperwork in here when they were young, and encouraged them not to come in here. The relative peace and quiet in here as a result affords me a bolt-hole from the mayhem of the rest of the house late on an evening. If I don’t want to watch CSI, NCIS, Foyle’s War, Broadchurch, or whatever else my other half is watching, I can shut myself away in here and write.