Yesterday I did something tremendously important. I created the writing desk for my next book. A couple of months I was lucky when somewhere else in the house I live in a small desk became available. It is the perfect little desk that can be closed to lock away things and opened to give me a writing spot that’s near perfection.
I am writing a novel about the women at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. I live in a late nineteenth century house in a late nineteenth century part of town in a almost cliché writers room. Small and cluttered with my belongings breathing an atmosphere of past times and orientalism. My room connects with my work. The desk is made of wood and comes from the 1950’s or earlier. It is small but big enough for work and for storage of the books I need. It can hold a vase with flowers and my personal things like the little china boxes and perfume bottles. It has a seat for some of the furries that have value for me and – out of sight – is a handmirror I use for morning make up and to look myself in the eyes every now and then.
Writing a novel requires a well arranged location to do that. Every book has it’s own specific spot. The first one was a café, the second one another café. The third was my bed and the fourth was again a café which actually played a significant role in the novel. Novel five was written in a mountain camp on a small terrace with just a small table in complete isolation overlooking the Himalayans. The perfect spot to keep me in the right mood for that book. The result is Headwind, Laxmi’s Story and was published recently. (Buy it here!). That ‘desk’ looked like this:
And as humble as it looks, when the view is unveiled I had while writing one can imagine that writing a novel in such a place is literally a breeze. Sorry for making anyone jealous. Of course Kakani, the place in the Nuwakot area close to Kathmandu is fixed in my memory like a beautiful dream. In fact I quite often dream about that place.
But, my next novel is somethings else. It is a book about beauty and decay, love and limitations, models, painters, sculpters and the occasional poet. It’s about the love between two women that could be labelled as lesbian love but was much more than that and about the need and importance of adjusting ones sexuality to the circumstances in life. And because of that it is a book about myself. Hence the mirror in my desk.
My room has old things in it. A 1910 Underwood typewriter. Little bronzes and books, a lot of books everywhere. There’s a chandelier and the kiss from Klimt is on the wall covering almost all of that wall. And now, there is this little desk that will become like a second home and where I no doubt will spend a lot of my time writing. The desk in Kakani is no longer there as a desk. No traces left. The writing spots in the café’s are just tables for people to have a coffee or a lunch. My bed is what it is, my bed. And what will become of this desk? Will it survive after the work is done? Or will it stay with me and become the basis of work to come?
© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij