My little corner of the world

I wrote a little about my study when I was responding to the #reverb10 prompt about appreciation. I took a few photos but only used one of them. I was just looking at them and realised I need to reflect a little more about the place I come to write – not that it’s the only place I write, I have notebooks with me all the time, and love writing at the beach, and even more so on train journeys – but this is my little corner of the world where I know people will give me some space if I’m writing; it’s the place where my favourite postcards – some of which have been with me for over ten years – hang above my desk, and the shelves my dad made for me are heaving with my accumulated treasures.

 

I should start with my desk. Leo made it for me out of timber left over when we she converted my son’s high sleeper into a cabin bed. It’s the perfect height for me, although I need a new chair. At the moment I’m using one of those weird ergonomic stools that you kneel on. My back loves it but my knees disagree.

As you can see, I share the desk with my dwarf Chinese hamster, Ming. He’s an amputee who lost a toe early in life, but it doesn’t seem to bother him at all.

There’s a lot of stuff crammed into that little corner, a lot of memories; the wig was part of my infamous marionette Hallowe’en costume a few years ago, and the veil you can just see the edges of is attached to one of the mini top hats I made for my Punk Moulin Rouge-themed birthday even longer ago than that.

Lots of Elvis tat, because I love it. I love it so much I submitted a whole portfolio inspired by Elvis tat and its cultural impact as part of my Creative Writing MA. There’s a huge pile of notebooks on the middle shelf. My filing system is based more on archaeological principles than anything more logical – the deeper down you dig the older the stuff usually is. It works for me. (And if you fancy the idea of organising your documents more organically, the Noguchi system is a good place to start).

I found the Mexican puppets in a charity shop. I really do need to make a film with them, because the little man looks very cute when he’s strumming his guitar.

Lady Di’s there because… well, because she’s Lady Di. We have the Queen in the kitchen, on the fridge (stuck on with Elvis magnets, of course).

Flying heart fairy lights and Jesus on my desktop surrounded by tacky silk flowers. These are the things that make me feel like I’m home – the things that sustain me.

The doll on the top shelf, the one on the right-hand side in the orange dress has been with me since I was a very little girl. I’ve got it into my head that someone brought her back from America for me way back in the days when not many  people travelled out of the UK, let alone as far as the US. I need to ask my mother if that’s true.

Anyway, she talks. Well, more to the point, she kind of wails and complains a lot. You pull her head away from her body which then returns neck-wards up the cord that connects the two. Meanwhile she screams, ‘My feet are moving CLOSER!’ and ‘Here comes my BO-DY!’ and my favourite (mostly because she very, very rarely says it), ‘I’m falling apart: UH-UH!’

 

The flash has obliterated the photo on the shelf below. Here’s a better shot of it, nestled as it is in front of some literary theory text books.

That’s my mum, aged about three, with my Nan, who’s in her late eighties now, so it must have been taken in the 1940s. I love their hair, and their dresses, and the way it seems like they’re staring right out at me. That’s my son next to them, when he was a lot younger.

The green bird on the pink and black base makes a tweeting sound when you wiggle the stick up and down. It’s a bit subdued now, because there’s a slight crack in the base. I can remember playing with this at one of my great aunties’ houses when I was very little. They both had budgies, and I think this hung in one of the bird cages, but I could be wrong.

So many little treasures, all of which have a special meaning for me; presents from dear friends, mementoes of those no longer with me, irreplaceable things my son made at primary school: things that make me feel loved, and whole and, most importantly, inspired.

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