Thursday, 3 September 2009

A Room All Of My Very Own - Elen Caldecott

A huge and momentous thing is happening on Monday. I am uber excited. Imagine a child who is spending Christmas in Disneyland with Zack Efron and Dr Who. I am that excited.

On Monday, we are moving house. I should say, rather, that we are moving flats. We are moving exactly two doors away. However – and this is the good bit – instead of living in a one-bed flat, we will have A Second Room. A Writing Room, no less! I loved John’s shed idea earlier this year. But I would have settled for a door that closed to write behind.

And now, I’m getting one!

So far, I have written four novels in my one-bed flat. I write at the dining table (which is, in fact, the only table); while people cook a few feet away; while the Champions League plays over my right shoulder; while the washing-up glares at me from the sink. Whoever invented open-plan living was painfully and abnormally attached to their family, imo. Here is the view from my table:

Did you spot the washing-up being glarey? It is, oh, it is.

I read Virginia Woolf when I was a teenager. I scoffed at it. There was a lot of the bolshy about me in those years. I thought I would be immediately successful and rich as soon as I left school. I thought the whole ‘room of one’s own’ thing was a bit whiney. Ha! I could happily give my younger self a stern talking to (not that she would listen, she’s bolshy, you see). It is hard, trying to produce good work in a bad space. Especially if it is chores getting in your way. I hear myself say things like, “I must finish Chapter 14, but only after I’ve put the rubbish out,” or “That character needs a lot of work, but then, so does the bathroom floor.” Being able to see all the mess and all the jobs needing to be done really intrudes. Like Catholic guilt, but about housekeeping.

But on Monday, all that changes.
There is a small part of me that worries – what if I can only write while the world and his dog are there? What if closing the door on the world sends me into tailspin? What if I need clamour and clatter and chaos to write?

I guess in that case, I just have to pick up my lap-top and go back to the dining table. And we can have a guest bedroom instead!

Now, you must excuse me, I have some packing to do!
Elen's Facebook Page


Nick Green said...

Dining table? Ee, that's luxury. I write on packed commuter trains.

Anonymous said...

Inside or outside?

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Indulge yourself! I share a minute space with my husband and every time he wants to push his chair back, he has to warn me. NEVER EVER turn it into a spare bedroom, you'll just have 'sleep-over' guests and more washing up and more laundry to cope with! It's a wonderful excuse to be able to say... sorry we only live in a one bedroomed flat! (Someone you really like can always sleep on the couch!) Have fun and good luck with the move!

karen ball said...

Good luck with your move. I am very pleased for you, Ellen, but be warned - the chores still call to you even when the door is firmly shut and you can't see the washing up. (To be honest, I sometimes gratefully leap from my desk to load the washing machine as it gives me a good excuse to take a break. Oh, I can hardly believe that I would ever have been grateful for housework.)

Hilary Mckay said...

Enjoy it while it lasts. I too once had a small room of my own. I still do but now it also contains (larger items only):
1. All the village film club's projection equipment.
2.All my teenage son's homebrew stuff, brewing.
3.All the family camping gear (including boots).
5. A rather smelly hyperactive hamster who lives, not in a cage, but in a very large thing called a plaster's bath as a result of daughter reading too much Gerald Durrell- nearest thing she could get to The Wild.

Elen Caldecott said...

Oh dear,
I'm getting the impression that my writing room may not be the inspirational nirvana I've been imagining...
You don't think, perhaps, that the procrastination is, in fact, my fault? And not the fault of cruel circumstance? ;)

John Dougherty said...

Elen, if you make it The Place Where You Do Nothing But Write, and only go in there when you want to write, and make sure you can't connect to the internet when you're in there (if only by disabling the wireless network adaptor before you go in and not re-enabling it till you're back at the kitchen table), I'm sure you'll find it almost as good as a shed. If you can train someone to silently bring you hot drinks so you're not tempted to get up and fill the kettle, even better.

Good luck!

Penny Dolan said...

A Room of One's Own is a most wonderful thing to have, Elen. Have a happy and productive time there - and good luck with the move.

Yunaleska said...

A writing room. Now that is a beautiful dream...which is a reality for you! Enjoy it :)

At leastyou won't have to hire a moving van. Or lug furniture/items too far.

Stroppy Author said...

Congratulations, Elen! I hope you really, really enjoy it and are very productive there. You're right about open-plan. I have more space, but a good deal of it is open plan and I would so like to be able to shut the kitchen out!