Part of the reason I posted the pictures on my website of my writing desk was a book I was reading at the time. Always a book. A big expensive picture book, How I Write. Lots of pictures of desks or special chairs, tea-stoves or pens, post-its or pictures or ornaments. Little ritual things that are supposed to make it easier. Habits, like hot baths or cigarettes or looking out of the window. I bought the book because I was feeling nosey – went to Waterstones because it is the only bookshop in my town even though I was going to boycott it because they don’t have a lift and refuse to help me carry the buggy up the stairs. (I don’t CARE if it is a listed building! What if I used a wheelchair!!) Just as I was about to pay I remembered that I had left my card in the card reader at the last shop I went to. That shop was called Home Bargains. I don’t know if they have them everywhere. They’re like a pound shop, but with more variation in prices. It is a good place to buy things like soap and washing up liquid. So I went back there and got my card and went back to Waterstones (listed building, my behind! It is ugly! It looks exactly the same as every other Waterstones in the whole world!) and paid for the book. I was a bit embarrassed by this point and it was going to get worse because the man had already put the book in a carrier bag and I got him to take it out so I could put it in my ruck-sack, then I took it home and did some child-neglecting while I looked at the pictures. I tried to make a tea-stove out of an empty tuna can because I wanted to be a real writer.
My method involves getting worked up about something then using a pen or a keyboard to rant about it for a bit. Usually a keyboard. I can type really fast, without looking. People notice, when I am at work, and I always want to say, ‘yes, I can type faster than anyone I know because after I have my tea that is all I do.’ I want to say it in a proud kind of way, but enough people think I am a geek as it is. Anyway, I love typing. I love the noise of it, even if what is coming out isn’t anything I’m pleased with. The first novel I wrote was on an old typewriter that cost five pounds from a charity shop, and I do remember getting a plastic type-writer when I was little. Some birthday, or Santa Claus. I also had a date-stamp and liked to stamp the date in the front of my books. These two things make me think that I should be what I am. I lent my cheapie yellowed ‘Wordsworth classics’ edition of Dracula to a friend recently, and when I flicked it open I noticed one of the stamps in the front. 1993! I remember reading it lying down in the back of my mum and dad’s Astra Estate. The back seats were down and the car was filled with Yellow Pages books. I had to lie down and read because there wasn’t room for me to sit up. They were delivering them at night to earn extra money and I was lying down reading Dracula. I get a bit embarrassed about my rants so either change them into third person and put some scenery in, or invent a narrator I take great pains to ensure is unreliable.