Nicola Barker's writing desk, according to The Guardian's Writers' Rooms series, isn't in a study at all but in the corner of the living room. It's a beautiful wooden piece surrounded by an idiosyncratic collection of things.
She says: 'I got the carpenter who made it to cut a small indentation into the table part, so I could slot right into it. It's made from some old stairs. And it has loads of little cupboards in front full of interesting stuff - letters and rosary beads, faulty discs, stickers and whatnot. As I work, my dog, Watson, insists on positioning himself under my chair. '
And Barker wears industrial ear muffs!
I'm interested in Barker's work space because a) I haven't read but am drawn to her 800-plus page novel Darkmans which is a subversive take on what language is and does (I gather) and debates amongst other things the "absurd idea that language has these gaps in it and that lives can somehow just tumble through", and b) I wrote The Blue in the midst of things on an old kitchen table in the corner of the family room accompanied by a piano, 2 guitars, a stack of old board games, a wooden castle, a noticeboard, a filing cabinet and the dog's bed. All pretty tidy but all very much there.
I partly did that to ensure I wrote only in school hours (and in the middle of the night) and fled back to daily life when the children came in the door. Now they're older there's a little less pressure to do that, so I've turned the upstairs spare room into a 'study' for this second novel, but it's not as appealing (less cosy I suppose, and the office chair is rubbish.)
It becomes more appealing when the kids are all home, the electric guitar is getting a work out, Youtube is bleating hip hop, the Sims are doing their thing on the PS2 and the dog needs a walk.... Then I might just trot up those stairs, pull on my 'Colin' cardigan (it belonged to a late friend and helps me write) and close the door.
Or I might take the dog for a walk.
It would be interesting to hear about other NZ writers' rooms. Rachael King admits to working best when things are higgledy-piggledy.
And see the previous post about Virginia Woolf's solitary writing splendour in the 'writing lodge'. Still sounds like she could have done with those ear muffs.