Here is My Writing Room, isn’t it beautiful? Aren’t I glamorous? Look at my palm trees, look how the pink flowers cascade from my balcony. On a typical day I like to recline in here, Montblanc pen in hair, wheatgrass juice in hand and scribe away until sunset…
Okay, FINE, this is Lady Gaga’s house in Bel Air.
In reality, My Writing Room is the back of a bus into Exeter, where I sit for an hour every morning and evening, typing away, secretly hoping nobody sits next to me so I don’t have to try and hide my screen from them in case they think I’m eavesdropping and writing about them (which I probably am). I am among sleepy teenagers with backcombed hair, who wear matching Topshop jumpers, swap sex tips and say words I don’t understand. They pay me little attention. I like to think it’s because I look cool and older and threatening. I worry it may be because I look dorky and old and boring.
My Bus-Writing Room smells like weed, though I think it’s the air freshener they use. My Bus-Writing Room has blue seats and lots of ‘don’t put your feet on the seats’ signs. It has orange poles. It has people sleeping against the windows, and it has a downstairs AND an upstairs (I sit downstairs, because otherwise I tumble down the steps when it comes to a stop – a mass of laptop bag, packed lunch, and flailing red hair).
I’m usually gasping for a cup of tea during my morning writing-fest, but having already wrecked two laptops through knocked-over drinks in the past, and bus seats not yet coming with cup holders, I make do without and tip-tap away instead. By the trip home, I’m filled with an entire office load of tea so I can crack on with a slightly more alert brain.
Listen. It’s a bus. I don’t think I can harp on about it anymore because unless you’re a bus spotter, it’s just not that interesting. But there is no internet in My Bus-Writing Room, which means no Twitter distractions, no Facebook stalking, no Wikipedia to check I’ve got the exact height of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree correct at this moment in time. And for me, this means no procrastination. So in that small way, my long and dreary bus ride is more than worth it, and is where, over a stuffy summer with sweaty fellow passengers, The Twelve Dates of Christmas was born.
I felt like a right pillock taking this photo.
Lisa Dickenson's The Twelve Dates of Christmas is out now.