Where I write

Watching the world while I write

I’ve moved my office this week. From the pokey back room with no view and mottled shag pile, I’ve relocated to our big timber kitchen table, which fills one end of the living room. From here I have large windows on three sides and a constant view of trees, garden and sky.

It’s Autumn and the tree outside the glass back door glows as though lit from within, its leaves infused with a rich mellow light, and red and amber stains throughout the foliage.

The chatter of birds rises and falls; the only other sound apart from my fingers on the keys. Two fat pigeons are bobbing and crooning at one another outside the window, content to soak up the last stretches of late afternoon sunshine.

Around me is the detritus of family life; toys and a guitar, string and sticky tape from a craft project, school notes, a pair of shorts Ollie decided not to wear yesterday and Darcy’s jumper flung hastily on the back of a chair.

On one of the crowded bookcases sits the forlorn figure of poor Snotty, the stuffed blue elephant who now requires delicate reconstructive surgery after falling fowl of Tommy the Jack Russell who loves a good chew.

It’s a silly place to sit really. When the children are home they watch television in this room, do their homework at the table and bring their books here to read. I have to clear all my papers, empty tea cups and scribbled notes off the table at dinner time so we can gather to eat. Yet I keep being drawn back to this spot instead of the office which seems too remote and separate from life to really be useful for writing.

Writing never happens in isolation. It never happens just when I’m at the computer. I write in my head while I’m choosing mandarins at the grocer, listening to my son tell me about his wicked sick flips at the skatepark, or stirring the gravy to make sure the lumps dissolve.

I’m writing when I’m driving the kids to school; their part-time jobs and after-school activities; when I’m peeling potatoes for dinner and wondering where the hell all the matching socks disappear to.

I’m writing when I see my toddler nephew’s fascination for life, when I hold one of my kids as they laugh or cry, when I look at the sun in the trees on a day like this, or when the man I love looks into my eyes.

For me writing is constant. It’s only the typing that happens intermittently. The committing to paper of ideas born sometimes from the mundane, sometimes from wonder and emotion. I do some of my best writing horizontal, eyes closed, on the bed. This reflection sets the tone and the mood for the words which will come later, often on a laptop at the kitchen table, amid the chaos and color and joy that is life.

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