I imagine myself sitting at a desk, which is odd as I usually write tucked tightly into my captain’s lounge chair, laptop resting in my folded legs where it keeps me warm. I prefer to write while sitting in a comfortable chair. The one I use swivels. My perfect writing chair would be even more comfortable—although not enough to cradle me to sleep—with a place to perch my legs and within reach of whatever glass of something I’m drinking from. I would have two perfect chairs: one to write in, the other to think in. My thinking chair would hang from the open rafters like a hammock and I would swing in it to give my thoughts motion while I stared out the window.
My glass might be resting on the desk I don’t sit at. An old table serves as the desk, a classic wooden table riddled with the carved signatures of former sweethearts or troublemakers. Tucked under the table is a bar fridge stuffed with fruit and sweet snacks, tangy cheese, and probably beer. On top of the table, on a tray next to my glass, I have a pitcher of fresh lemonade, full of glittering ice and sliced lemons. Sometimes I push the lemonade aside to sit at the table and write by hand. Sometimes I sit at the table to draw.
My journals and sketchbooks are crammed into a library shelf in one corner. I don’t have a lot of fiction here. Sharing my scribbles and future plans are reference books, travel books, graphic novels, humour, and fat coffee table books full of photographs of beautiful or ugly things. I still do most of my research using the internet, so I’m wired here for instant access. And if I want music while I work, I stream my favourites through my laptop, the sound pumping from wireless speakers in the rafters.
I’m warm, perhaps because I have a fireplace. The smell of wood smoke filters through the room, reminding me of happy moments camping or winter nights by the fire side with friends, playing games, telling stories. Under my feet a soft rug protects my feet from the bare wood. My walls are padded with cork panels (sustainably farmed to prevent the dread of guilt), pinned floor to ceiling with portraits of potential characters, scribbles of story points and plot developments, maps of story locations, and photographs of interesting corners where accidental collisions might occur. My cats cuddle in the chair I’m not working in, although sometimes they cuddle on my lap. They’re here for moral support and don’t rip anything off the walls.
I always have a window in front of me. I look out into the countryside through a grove of trees. Worn out footpaths disappear into the long grass of the distant fields. I imagine I’m writing somewhere in France. Sometimes I look out over a deep lake with water so perfectly flat that everything reflects in the surface, and I dream about the end of the day when I’ll escape my shelter and break the cool surface of the water with my dive in. Until then I breathe the fresh air that breezes through my open window. I’m up high, level with the chattering birds. I write in a tree house which I climb into through a secret door. The process is a ritual.
I keep my printer back at the house where the sound can’t bother me. I can print over the reliable network. When I need to pick up something I’ve printed I can get up out of my secret tree-house-with-a-fireplace and stretch my legs. I’ll restock my bar fridge while I’m there. Before I go I can spy up here in every direction, in case someone comes thinking they can interrupt me. I will not be disturbed.