by Anna Campbell
We have a new arts channel on cable TV here (STVDIO) and I'm having a lovely time, especially on a Monday which is devoted to writers and writing.
My favorite show on this network over the last few weeks is The Book Show which is produced for the British cable outfit Sky TV. And my favorite part of The Book Show is the bit where they show a writer's workspace. Anyway, here's the website: http://thebookshow.skyarts.co.uk/
One of the things I love about The Book Show is that they don't just go in for high-falutin' literary types. Everybody gets a look-in. So far, among the interviewees, I've seen Sue Townsend and a couple of thriller writers, including Robert Harris, and Tracey Chevalier who I met at last year's Brisbane Writers Festival (yeah, I know, that definitely counts as name dropping!) and Marian Keyes.
Marian Keyes by the way gave a really impassioned defense of women's fiction. As she said, why do people feel they can make value judgments based on what women read? And what's really sad, she said were the 'collaborators'. Women who accept these value judgments at face value as if things that women like are automatically considered beneath serious consideration.
But that's a rant for another time! I haven't read MK but after seeing her interviewed, I'm interested! She definitely is one smart cookie.
What I want to talk about today is the regular segment about writers' workspaces which I find absolutely fascinating.
We've had a couple of very elegant garrets high in the top of terrace houses. Fay Weldon's fascinated me - it's a very workaday office with steel shelving and a plywood desk at the university where she teaches. The one yesterday was a military historian called Richard Beevor who writes in a restored barn in the Cotswolds with views over the fields.
The one that really filled me envy - perhaps because like me she writes romantic fiction although in a very different style - was Jilly Cooper's workspace. It was a converted 14th-century dovecote again in the Cotswolds. By the way, clearly when you've made it in Britain as a writer, you HAVE to move to the Cotswolds, snort!
This beautiful space in a stone building with views out across classic English rolling hills made my mouth water. Bookshelves everywhere. And cats. Jilly says she loves having the cats around when she's writing - as she put it you spend so much time on your own when you're a writer, it's nice to have something alive in the vicinity. But something alive that lets you keep working!
Anyway, I took some photos of my current workspace only to discover that the new computer objected to linking with the camera. Sigh. As a result, I was stuck going through my old files.
These photos are slightly out of date - I've got another corkboard now in front of the desk, for example. And the garden, bless its cotton socks, is considerably more overgrown than it is in the picture.
But you get the idea - books, mess, postcards, computer, desk (which I love - my father rescued it from a Telstra disposal sale and did it up for me when I was in uni. I still can't believe they threw out solid walnut in favor of chipboard back in the late 70s!). View of my garden outside.
So what's your workspace like? If it's like Jilly Cooper's, by the way, I may never speak to you again, snork! Do you have a favorite room in your house? Let's talk about our habitat! And by the way, only the rooster gets to boast of his bad habitats! Groan!