Sunday, 6 March 2011

My new office

I have a new office. It’s clean and smart and does great coffee. It’s blissfully, heavenly, sensually warm. I can work without looking like some weird nomad bundled in blankets. People walk past and wave cheerily.  Occasionally the odd nice person will wander over and we will chat a little about silly inconsequential things. Then I put my headphones back on which is my clear sign to ‘leave me alone please’ and I write. And write. And write.

Which is a bloody relief as I suddenly realised I had to get a ripple on with the rewrite of Samael. I was procrastinating to the point of mental instability and financial suicide.

See, this is where I usually work. It’s an old kitchen table in my study. I do have a desk; actually I have two but they are both piled high with stuff – generally James’. Yes, I hotdesk with my son, how mad is that? Actually he tends to muscle in on my table too, purloining my PC because he (for some inexplicable reason) picked off half the keys on his own laptop. So I go to work and find I’ve apparently joined several gaming sites and have sewn a crop of artichokes. It’s enough to drive me to drink.

Also the SP has decided that it’s not enough to chew shoes and cushions. His latest fetish is razor blades. Somehow he finds disposable razors and chews them until the blades fall out and then munches on the blades. Can this place be so unendurable that he is trying to commit canine suicide? Weirdly, despite the mangled blades, the dog doesn’t have a mark on him. He’s made of Teflon.

Anyhow. My study depresses me. It’s a dumping ground for dirty kitbags, junk mail and recycling. It has windows smeared with dog drool and I could probably spin hippy weavings with the furry balls of dust that undulate softly around my feet, caught in the icy drafts that blow in from the hall.

All of a sudden the answer fell like the proverbial thunder bolt. The local cafe has recently expanded and has a whole new little mezzanine tucked away up a small flight of stairs. So – ta da! - here I sit, with my notes and my trusty Moleskine, scribbling like a...er....demon.

And, when I’ve vomited out enough words for one day, I sit back, turn off Hildegard of Bingen (I can’t write to anything with discernable lyrics or I stop and listen) and switch to something a bit more upbeat and whizz through the papers.

Yesterday I even found this very blog lurking in one of them. The Times had run a feature on the US uberblogger Dooce and had added a sidebar with six homegrown blogs. Confess I was surprised – but yes, chuffed - to see mine included (along with that of my lovely friend Alice) and online mates too. I even sounded relatively sane in the bit they quoted.

Personally I put it all down to my nice new office.

22 comments:

Viv said...

Ooh shiny!!
The word verif is sable, which is a wonderful word.
I find it nigh on impossible to work anywhere public( paranoia, frankly) and hate the fact that my study(aka the tiniest bedroom of this small house) can only be arranged with the desk where it is so I have to have my back to the door. If I shut the door I feel claustrophobia, if I leave it open I feel uneasy. No wonder I have been so focussed on stalking and obsessions and so on!
best of luck with the rewrites and big kudos for the mensh in the Times!
Viv

Exmoorjane said...

Viv: yeah, it's SO clean! I can write anywhere - if the Internet is off I have iron concentration. But yeah, I like to have a good feng shui power position going on - note this table is set into a corner so I can see everyone who comes in... ;)
No WONDER you feel rubbish at your desk - that's the kind of position that makes people ill! Put up a mirror so you can see anyone coming in....might help a little.

Mark said...

I like working in some libraries too - there is enough quiet and yet they are less lonely. The British Library in London is great and I work there a lot when I'm their on business

Exmoorjane said...

Mark: see, I probably wouldn't work well in a library as I'd constantly be thinking - oooh, wonder if they've got.... In the case of the British Library it would be fatal. :)

nettiethomson.com said...

Last year we converted our garage into a room. A new study all for me! The conversion involved dust, moving radiators and lots and lots of noise. It also involved hours pouring over paint charts and perusing online office equipment emporia - what fun I had. When it was finished I worked in it for a while, but we missed having a place to dump stuff - isn't that what everyone uses their garage for? - so pretty soon mucky boots, shoes, old cardboard awaiting recycling and a treadmill appeared. I keep my wee writery bit tidy and will fight to the death if anyone takes my iPanda, but somehow it's no longer 'mine'.
What a spoiled cow I am.

nettiethomson.com said...

Last year we converted our garage into a room. A new study all for me! The conversion involved dust, moving radiators and lots and lots of noise. It also involved hours pouring over paint charts and perusing online office equipment emporia - what fun I had. When it was finished I worked in it for a while, but we missed having a place to dump stuff - isn't that what everyone uses their garage for? - so pretty soon mucky boots, shoes, old cardboard awaiting recycling and a treadmill appeared. I keep my wee writery bit tidy and will fight to the death if anyone takes my iPanda, but somehow it's no longer 'mine'.
What a spoiled cow I am.

Miss Sadie said...

Glad you've discovered your new mezzanine office. My kind of place; better than my underground burrow.

Will they let in Bears or Dogs, at your place, if we bring our own computers and moleskins, and don't ask for too much tea and hunny?

Metropolitan Mum said...

I always find the best thing about writing in public places that someone else cleans up around and after you. That's nice, for a change.
Found you through the Times piece. I had heard your blog name before, but I don't think I have ever been here. What a mistake!! :)

Justin said...

I was just having a conversation with my wife recently about how I need to properly organise somewhere to write. At the moment, it's the dinner table or on the couch or on the bed or wherever I happen to end up where other people aren't, and I don't think it's conducive to me concentrating and getting a lot done. The fact that a lot of my writing has been done on planes and in airports probably has something to do with that, in that I have had no real routine, but I think the value of getting mental clarity from a clearly designated writing space is underestimated. Or at least, it has been in my life!

Oh, and I recommend Rodrigo Y Gabriela for writing. No lyrics whatsoever, just some gorgeous guitars.

Cait O'Connor said...

I can't write in public either but J K Rowling wrote in a cafe didn't she. I can't write in a library cos unfortunately I have to work!

Posie said...

Ooh it sounds perfect Jane, had to laugh at James elbowing in on your computer, my new lap top has been completely invaded here, I get the occasional glimpse of it in the distance, as one or other teenage taps away madly. Enjoy your new space and all of the coffee and cakes that must be onsite too....

legend in his own lunchtime said...

I'm not surprised at all:)
Hey, and someone else gets the task of cleaning up after you. How great is that?

elizabethm said...

Ah this struck such a chord Jane. I have given over my study to my FIL, in many ways happily. He loves it. Under his occupation it is cosy and warm whereas under mine it had become a bit of a dumping ground. I have an alternative study created in a corridor. In many ways this is also ok. In the afternoon the sun streams in and the top shelf above me is full of my jams and jellies and glows in the light. But still it is a corridor and I get in the way. Today I worked in Chepstow library waiting to be let in to visit my brother in hospital. It was surprisingly warm and calm and good.

Viv said...

I cannot imagine sharing my pc with anyone except as an emergency, or for that matter my little netbook(free with Tesco's clubcard double points). I get very possessive about certain things; you lot are far too nice, I'd bite the hand off anyone who purloined mine, with or without asking!!!
BTW Jane, I have put a mirror somewhere and played mental tetris to see if I can rearrange the room, but can't. I'd so much prefer to be able to gaze out the window when thinking...!

Alison Cross said...

Great solution. I might try something similar as my 50k nanowrimo words are still lurking, like unloved children, in my hard drive somewhere.

I am reasearching. What a great excuse to sit and read books about Victorian asylums :-)

Ali xxxxxx

hasenschneck said...

Well done for getting the mention but shame on them for not letting you know in advance.

DD said...

Oooh loving your new study. I may have to adopt that idea as I currently have three workmen and a shell-shocked cat in mine. And just booked for a chimneysweep to come as well. Lovely to be neighbours in the Times xx

Norma Murray said...

Hey Jane, I'm out of touch, Is that a new dog? What happened to Asbo

Frankie said...

I've got a nice setup in the front hallway. Apartment living, claim the space you can, y'know? I use the kitchen table or the couch a lot too.

I should try going where there's no internet. I go to the library sometimes, but I find it inconvenient in a different way.

Fran said...

Well done on your mention in the newspaper. How cool is that?

I love being in cafes and either writing or marking or just reading. It's the buzz around me that inspires me.

Catharine Withenay said...

What a lovely way to work. Good luck with the rewrites and enjoy the peace and quiet (and a desk away from your son!)

CAMILLA said...

What a fab way to write Jane, best of luck with the re-writes.

I need to find the best suitable to place to write, desk and PC in sitting room at the mo, too many distractions from Husband with remote control and telly.!

xx