This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Let's have a nosy into the writing room of Helene Gremillon, whose latest novel is The Confidant.
Over to Helene…
My Writing Room by Helene Gremillon
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I am a restless soul, I like to move house a lot. Whenever I view a new flat, the first thing I look for is the room where I will write, and if that room isn’t there, then I know it’s not the right flat. Finding it is such a wonderful feeling; I feel the walls and I think I even talk to it a little; it becomes such a special place. I work at home, amidst the noise of the men in my life, my lover and my son. It’s such a pleasure to be immersed in the lives of those you love, but terribly difficult to concentrate, as you have to cut yourself off, leave the world of reality, which is so alive, and so close, to enter the fictional world of the book you are writing. Luckily, I have my “extras”: my earplugs (made by Bodyguard, which are the best!), a helmet and some loud music, which helps me to concentrate. And, unfortunately cigarettes. These are accompanied by lots of tea and coffee; my other precious writing allies.
Nowadays, I live in Paris. In the 16e arrondissement. My study is on the top floor, where I’m lucky enough to have a clear view; I can see the sky and the open horizon, which is wonderful when you’re negotiating with your characters and your stories. I have two tall windows through which I can see the Eiffel Tower and the trails of aeroplanes and I try to recognise the pigeons on the roofs. I have a neighbour, who I can see but who can’t see me, he stands at his window when he’s on the phone, so my gaze settles upon him; unbeknownst to him, he is helping me think. I need books in my study, so I keep my entire book collection close, and I draw courage from there. I wrote The Confidant on a bistro table, which I bought at a flea market, and I know that it will be my desk forever. As it’s such a small table, I position other tables nearby, and I put my papers and my research books on the floor all around my chair, creating a real mess (tidied in the photo) that I have to step over to get to or leave my desk. Here, I take off my shoes, allowing for all sorts of seating positions. The most recent favourite is one leg folded under me, leaning my chest against my knee to support me as I lean towards my computer or over increasingly darkening sheets of paper. Sometimes, for a change, I lie on the floor, on the carpet, as it’s the only carpeted part of the house, and is very comfortable. Another variation is on the sofa, to stretch out whilst I “think”. Sometimes, I find myself overcome by sleep, during a lapse in concentration. But I hate it when that happens, as when I wake up, I feel like I haven’t worked, I haven’t “moved forwards”. For me, the pleasure in writing comes from there, from the feeling of moving forwards. I keep this room for writing and for writing alone, which makes it an anxious, neurotic sort of room, where I’m either trapped for days, or that I avoid for days. At the moment, I’m avoiding it. This piece was written in my kitchen. But my kitchen is not the subject of this text so I shall say no more about it, except that we eat very well here…