We have to be out of our flat in two weeks. We are surrounded by a swiftly growing assemblage of boxes; they are eagerly closing in on us, covering pathways, blocking the easiest routes of egress. Worse still, is their power to sap me of my will to write. As they increase in number and size, my ability to function as a creator decreases accordingly.
Wherever my eyes look, they see chaos: dust, empty shelves, fraying carpet seams. My studio is slowly being denuded of charm and character. I look around and wonder, “How did I ever write in this place? How did I create things of purpose and beauty? Did I?” From certain angles, it just doesn’t seem possible. This indignity, it’s monstrous.
It’s an illusion, naturally. Creative spaces are not enchanted rooms or bewitched nooks. They do not bestow extraordinary abilities on all who enter, but instead offer us serenity or stillness or mental and physical discipline. They are practical, safe places rooted in the everyday needs of difficult professions.
Through this tatty veil, though, a bit of magic shines through. Talismans. Books and other scraps of inspiration: photos, quotes, fancy pens, markers, colourful paper clips, a mountain of notebooks, art, calendars, strange ephemera, re-purposed junk. These are the inhabitants that make my studio what it is: a visually and emotionally appealing sanctuary where work gets done.
This brings us back to the lamentations of the opening paragraphs. The growing starkness of the studio is messing with the normal structure of my days. If it ever came down to it, I could write anywhere and under almost any imaginable circumstance. Write with blinders on, focused, unaffected. Unfortunately, the fact that I do not have to means that I do not have to, will not, cannot. I will struggle on for the next couple of weeks, searching for poise. Ideas piling up in notebooks, phrases and plots reaching the edge of fruition. Waiting. Waiting to be unpacked. Waiting to be developed. Waiting.
“I lived to write, and wrote to live.”-Samuel Rogers