For now (i.e. the next few weeks) my
writing room is the study at the back of our Edwardian terraced house in
Brighton. A friend with a considerably bigger house tactfully commented that we
had made, ‘Very good use of our
space.’ I think what she actually meant
was ‘Blimey, how do you all fit in?’
With a teenage son and twin girls, let’s just say it’s cosy.
My study overlooks our tiny patio
garden and the row of houses beyond. It’s a bit like the Hitchcock film Rear
Window as I can look out and speculate about my neighbours. As yet no
murders, but way too many BBQs… From March onwards it’s like being in a scene
from The Birds as we are surrounded
by sea gulls squawking, mating, nesting, above all squawking. These birds are
seriously inconsiderate, don’t they realise I’m trying to write!
I try to keep my desk relatively
clutter free with just my Macbook and notebook on it. I do have a thing about
stationery. My chair is actually one of
my daughter’s old high chairs! Apparently it’s a modern classic, though I can’t see it myself.
My recent novel is set on the Greek
island of Zakynthos so I put up pictures of the beach that features in it to
remind me of the blisteringly blue Ionian Sea. Above my desk hangs an Edward
Hooper poster. He’s one of my favourite artists as I love how his pictures tell
a story. To the left is a poster from a Rufus Wainwright concert, my all time
favourite singer. The mug is on my desk because I drink tea all day long.
I’ve always known that occupying
this study would be temporary so apart from my pictures, to say it’s not
exactly a place of great beauty is an understatement. Behind me is my husband’s filming equipment
and his wardrobe (I successfully squeezed him out of the one in our bedroom,
oops) and his telescope (why?), plus piles of books, files and proofs that make
me look like one of those people on Britain’s
Biggest Hoarders. When I gave the room a bit of a tidy pre-photo and
shifted all the rubbish out of the shot I found a pair of my son’s old socks (thanks Joe) but on the upside I also found a bracelet that my husband had
bought me from the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.
Sure enough now my daughters are ten
they have put their collective foot down about sharing a room. Over the summer
I will be re-locating to the back of our living room. Once there I will be forced to be brutally
minimalist, it’s going to be clean lines, empty surfaces, no more piles of
clutter, as if… And I’ve got a few
suggestions about where my husband can stick his telescope…
Rebecca's latest novel, Swimming Pool Summer, has just been released.