Monday 22 August 2011

Restoring the little Writing Room

 Computer and Desk 2

I came back after three weeks in France to find that GR had stripped my little writing room of the messy palimpsest of five years of writing – pictures on pictures, postcards on print-outs, three tattered dream-catchers, two computers, two printers, stacks of paper, piles of notes, hundreds of notebooks. Wires and cables. And books, books books.

I’d come to think this retreat  was picturesque, full of potential literary treasures, stacked with ideas. But truly,  truly, it was becoming an image of an overstuffed mind. clogged up with a plethora of spurious inspirations and notional ideas.

Much of this stuff had spilled off the shelves onto the floor. So I asked GR if he would kindly build me another long shelf while I was away.

Golly, had he done more than that! He’d stripped the room of its entire contents. Then he stripped the walls and painted them, refurbished the sash window so it works again. He stripped the floorboards and restored them to a gleaming, nut-brown Victorian patina.  Oh, and he built three new shelves: one very large, two smaller and narrower.Small Notbooks etc

So, when I got back home there was my little writing room looking very empty and twice as large: an inspiration in itself.

So all I  had to do now was reintroduce all my stuff to this new, pregnant space. Of course this meant I had to sort it all and only allow back into the room things I really wanted around me.

This process involved several black sacks.Files with odalisque

As I sorted I found two novels I had forgotten – one pretty good, actually. A whole collection of short stories written more than twenty years ago. A lever arch file with the complete contents of a book I had (have) in mind about writing – called, I see, The Determined Butterfly. I found two plays I had written from my novels .  I found numerous poems written in various notebooks. One (see below) from 2002 when I must have been in a scary state of mind.

This was an opportunity too to assemble my notebooks (large and small) Notebooks, novfel draftung books some of my own booksin some proper order. Ditto my diaries, my inspirational CDs, my archive of floppy disks containing all my early work, my workshop files. And my radio stuff - together at last in black boxes.Old disk archive; radio gear, new paper, empoty notebooksAnd I could assemble my dictionaries (more to come…) and give each of my writing projects a plastic box of its ownWriting reference sources; Vichy France books, Writing Project Boxes, Inspirational CDs. Now all my work is accessible, all in order.

Then. last and possibly most important, I have re-done my inspiration board with new images. The last things I pinned up (again!) were the dream catchers…


Study Wall


The decks have been cleared so I can sail on with my next novel which is half-way there ,but was somehow stopped by… the stuff!

Oh – and here is the scary poem from 2002;

Dark Lady

Lady of shadows where do you walk?

Come into the light -

Let me see you more clearly


She  lingers now at the edge of the dark

Walking the streets with her diamond eye

Beating disks of glittering metal

Choosing the child for the next conflagration


Lady of shadows, where are you walking?

Come into the light -

Let me see you more clearly


She turns into an alley darker than Hades

Confronts a huge man whose eyes cannot see

Diamond gaze cuts the husk of his eyelids

Igniting his soul with the dark fires of hell


Lady of shadow, where are you walking?

Come into the light -

Let me see you more clearly


I’m running before you, fearing your gaze

Fearing your hands with their tin-drum beat

Fearing the reach of your long, thin arms

Fearing the high-heeled click of your feet


Lady of shadows why do you follow?



  1. Some symbolic de-cluttering going on there Wendy! Oh the delights of spring cleaning and sorting. I'm doing some of the same in moving focus to Italy. It's very therapeutic!
    I loved the poem - more please?

  2. Dear Kathy
    Thank you. You are encouraging and inspirational. I hope Italy is inspirational for you.

  3. I've got to admit Wendy that I'm green with envy - I love the way the new room looks - that clean but still inspiring space so conducive to work -

    - like Einstein's Three Rules of Work: "Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

    And the poem - what a find! I Love its rhythm, can hear her footsteps and the tin drum beat - and see the glittering discs of her eyes...

  4. Love the Einstein quote Avril. New to me. And let's hope the room lives up to its promise...



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