Monday, 6 October 2008

Where do you write?


I'm taking up the challenge posted by Stephen Curry on the Nature Network to give a quick illustration of my working environment.

I love the curved desk (thanks, Ikea) and also having a window looking out on green stuff. A small prize to the first person who can work out what my favourite painting is (there's a print above and to the right of the monitors).

Unlike Stephen, there is no stereo - I do have a lot of music on the computer, but hardly ever listen to it when working. I have to be doing something really dull and mechanical (my accounts, say) before I can have music on without it being a distraction.

The books go with the job, I guess (though more than half of those on view are fiction). I tend to have a couple of shelves of books on the subject I'm writing about at the moment, as well as the usual references (though my favourite, the OED, I use online thanks to our local library).

The row of books at the top right are my 'I should throw them away, but...' books - they are spare copies of translations that I keep on the off-chance I will one day meet someone who is interested in a Czech book on creativity (say). This has once paid off, when I did some work with the University of Westminster with a group of Chinese speakers and managed to offload all my spare books translated into Chinese, but so far the rest are reluctant to shift.

12 comments:

  1. I say, Brian - your office is dead posh! I used to work in the cupboard under the stairs, but that's got too cluttered with vaccum cleaners, assorted tools, broken toys and other impedimenta of unknown function, so now I usually take the laptop to the sofa or the kitchen table. My last novel was written entirely on trains.

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  2. Sadly it won't last - we're selling the house, and once we do I think I will be reduced to a cupboard. As I don't commute, I think going on trains just to be able to write would be too extreme.

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  3. I have sometimes thought of getting one of those nice garden offices, so one would have a 'commute' down the garden path. Has that crossed your mind?

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  4. Absolutely - if we move somewhere without a suitable room and the budget will run to it, that is the master plan.

    Of course, Dr Scribbler, you have to bear in mind that when you say you used to work from a cupboard, you also have your no-doubt palatial office in Nature Towers, where my home office is where I do all my work.

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  5. Hah! My palatial offices at Nature resemble a penguin rookery, with all the noise and mess that this entails. My cupboard under the stairs at home used to be great until I had to remove the door, to allow the laying of new flooring. The door hasn't been replaced - but when it is, I should be able to go in, shut the door, and just drift away.

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  6. Further to Stephen Curry's post, how about posting a shot of your part of the Nature office? We all like a view of Nature in the wild.

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  7. OK, I'm officially envious.

    My desk is stuck in the corner of my bedroom while we renovate my Real Office, which lurks in the attics of our mostly-derelict house.

    I have less desk-space than you, but much more shelf-space.

    But I'm still envious.

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  8. I do love it - it will be the thing I miss most if we ever manage to sell the house. But exciting to be renovating your office - sounds promising!

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  9. It would be promising if we hadn't lived here for a full twelve years already, and spent most of that time dragging the house back from dereliction: it'll be a spectacular house when it's finished (there's a photo on my blog, if you're interested) but that's a long way off. The views are wonderful, though, and despite having to dig ourselves out of the snow every now and then I love living here. Study or no study!

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  10. Congratulations to Wendy Williams, who has emailed me with a correct identification of the art work in the top right hand corner of the first picture. It just shows how little of a painting you need to see to recognize it.

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  11. Brian

    Is that a picture of the back of your head on your new book?

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  12. No it's not - my hair still vaguely resembles my photo. I've only once ever suggested a cover image - the US edition of Infinity, which features Escher's Reptilen - but on the whole the author has little to do with what appears.

    Actually, I did have one influence on the Upgrade Me cover. Their original version had an old-style printer socket on the back of the neck. I suggested (half humorously) that it was a bit old technology, and they ought to upgrade it to a USB port, but they went for this jack socket with the rather fetching orange circuit board.

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