I realised last night, as I semi-slept, that if I was going to get any real work done here I’d have to move out of the kitchen. I had settled myself quite happily there because I like kitchens and this one is so gloriously English middle class. It’s cosy and functional, and not even remotely on trend; it has a huge sink, a double oven (I’ve always wanted one of those!), and acres of cupboards. It’s my fantasy kitchen; but I have to face facts: the table isn’t big enough for me to spread out the books and whatnot I need to stimulate my creative secretions, and what with D and the cat popping in for cups of coffee or mouthfuls of Whiskas I haven’t been able to get into the poetry zone. So, this morning I searched for a new workroom.
As I said yesterday, D has bagsied the free upstairs room, so I looked to the lower floor. There are four rooms down there: the laundry (no good for obvious reasons); Linda’s study; Mathew’s study, and another room that does double duty as a computer gaming/guest room. We stayed in this room last year when we came to visit; it has a door onto the garden and its own bathroom (handy on both counts!). I decided that was my best option – I wouldn’t feel comfortable using someone else’s study – so I cleaned it, rejigged a few pieces of furniture, took all my stuff down and spread it on the futon like a literary banquet.
But the sun went in, and a cold rain fell, and it began to feel a bit gloomy down there. I strayed back up to the kitchen and put the kettle on.
D came in and offered to give up the room he’s using, but I couldn’t take it from him, he’s all settled up there and, unlike me, is actually doing a lot of work. So I set up in the sitting room. It has a big table for the smorgasbord, space for pacing, and lots of light admitting windows. The sun shone on my back as I flipped through my books for the next line.* It felt perfect.
The only drawback is the presence of a TV. D likes to watch stuff in the evenings, and this one has Netflix so he has the huge choice tv watchers seem to like. He may never have the opportunity to choose between so much crap ever again. How could I keep him from such fun?
I’m back in the kitchen for the evening while Samuel Jackson saves the Chicago policemen’s pension fund. Which is fine because I’m doing this so I don’t require a stack of books and a case full of finely sharpened pencils beside me. I reckon this arrangement could work: sitting room during the day, kitchen at night.
Flexibility seems to be key to getting on; Frank O’Hara used to take his typewriter to parties and could construct a poem anywhere, while conducting a conversation. I need to cultivate that flexible kind of mind-set.
Header image is of the kitchen window from the garden.
*Of my rain cento.