The website of the Guardian newspaper in Britain has been featuring the writing rooms of selected authors, publishing some snapshots of where they work. I don't know about you but I just love these little snippets. Yes, call me a voyeur, but I'm always fascinated to see the "habitat" of my favourite writers. I'm probably also quite nosy!
So, in this spirit of opening up, the photo above shows where I write. It's a room that also serves as the spare bedroom for when people come to stay. There is a view over a private, internal courtyard and the open sky is visible, which is very important for me if I'm to live in the middle of a big city. One of the authors featured in the Guardian talked about how some consider it important to write with their backs to the window. To hell with that! I prefer to take in the view!
You'll notice there are only reference books nearby, which is deliberate. I would find it too distracting to have my full collection of books close to where I write; it would be too tempting to dip in and out of my favourites. My books are in the living room, providing a lifeblood for the household. (Hundreds of my partner's French plays and novels are behind me in the writing room, but they pose less of a threat!)
I also like to keep the surface of the desk free of clutter, so I can begin a new writing session with a feeling of freedom, a clean start. Ideally, I would have a much larger desk - the wide lense on my camera makes it seem overly small in the picture above, by the way - but it's a question of space. I went for a nice bright colour for the desk though, to make sure I'm in the brightest mood possible when I start a writing session.
When we took this apartment, back in 2003, I immediately saw myself sitting by that window, being inspired by the history of the building - this was one of Lyon's first hospitals and it dates back to the 16th century. In the private courtyard downstairs you can still see the original sties they kept pigs in and there is a beautiful old well, which was the main source of water.
Also, I can't forget the door that greets me everyday downstairs, reminding me of the richness of this place! Remember that Lyon is where the guignols began, the punch and judy-type puppets. The theatre on the other side of our courtyard was one of the famous guignol theatres in Lyon (Le Théâtre Guignol-Mourguet) but in the 1970s it was turned into a general theatre. I often hear the clapping and actors' voices when I'm writing. The other interesting thing I discovered when we moved here was that the French writer Françoise Sagan (Bonjour Tristesse) spent part of her childhood in this building in the 1940s. Yes, I do hope that some of her vibes rub off on me. Wouldn't it be great to see her ghost, revisiting her old stomping ground!
Physical comfort is the other biggie for me when it comes to a writing space. I got rid of my old chair and got one that had arm rests, kissing goodbye (touch wood) to a stiff neck and sore shoulders. My keyboard is also at a better level.
We also have decent speakers for the computer now, so I can listen to inspiring music as I tap! The cat, Muffin, is always welcome to join me in the writing room when I'm here for long periods, and there's space on the desk for a bottomless pot of tea!
Voila! That's my writing haven. What about yours? Why not put up a photo of your pad and tell us why it's good for you?