Al Desko

Before we start, just a quick reminder about the 28th November – See last week’s post.

Also, don’t forget that you can donate here

Right then, last week saw the sharing of writing desks by a couple of poets that I admire immensely – Josephine Corcoran and Robin Houghton and I would love to be able to share mine, but alas I don’t have one.

I’ve often fantasised about having a place to write or work at. The idea of a shed at the bottom of the garden to call my own appeals, but would I use it? I like the idea of a place by a river. I don’t want to be David Cameron with his writing shed/caravan/hut. Although, to be fair I could have stopped after the word Cameron.

My wife has colonised the spare room in our house and turned it into her office. At one point I was lucky enough to have a shelf in there to call my own, but even that has changed now.

But before you break out the violins….

…I’m not sure it matters.

This week I applied for the Writers At Sea residency in Margate, and part of the application process requires you to say why you are applying, as well as a bit about your work and what you plan to do while you’re there. More on how the application goes when I know how the application has gone.

In my notes about why I was applying I wrote:
“The actual act of writing happens in the liminal spaces of the day, the commute to work when a seat is available on the train, when I’m waiting to collect my wife and daughter from their dance lessons, in the time before a meeting (assuming there isn’t more pressing work to be done), the time while an egg boils —Four minutes twenty-five seconds is about enough time to open a notebook and remove a comma, although obviously it will go straight back in after breakfast.”

I’ve got used to this peripatetic way of working and so I suspect that unless we win the lottery, it will remain the same way for a long time.

As I write this I am sat at our kitchen table—no eggs are boiling—and that seems to be where a lot of my writing happens. The other main location seems to be at my desk at work. IN MY LUNCH HOUR, BOSS!!!

I’ve said it before and I’m saying again, for me it doesn’t matter where I am. If I was doing this for a living then it might be different, but as long as I have something to lean on then I’m good.

And, while I don’t have a desk at home, the plus side is that it doesn’t get messy. Rachael gets really cross if I leave stuff on the table. My desk at work is a total mess, but I’m not showing you that.


  1. Gospel Science
  2. Sexy Talk
  3. Mrs Marple’s Marbles


15K running – A quieter week after last week, no doubling up. I did get a 5K PB today of 23.08. I would like to get under 22.30 before the year is out.

0 Poems worked on Too busy at work/life. The curse of going away next week.

1 Review started

14 days without cigarettes. Only one minor outburst.

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green


The latest issue of North, The Doomed City by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, Jane Lovell’s This Tilting Earth

Phillip K. Dick, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
Paul Farley, The Mizzy
Katy Evans Bush, Broken Cities & Egg Printing Explained
Steven Blyth , Mr Right
Ramona Herdman, Come What You Wished For
Clarissa Ackroyd, Island of Towers

Eps 3-5 Succession S1, Engrenage S7 E1, The Dublin Murders E1

Listened to:
The Cure, Anniversary & Curaetion.
Brandi Carlisle, The Firewatcher’s Daughter & By The Way, I Forgive You
Aguaturbia, Aguaturbia
Avi Buffalo, At Best Cuckold
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Beware, Superwolf, Joya, Greatest Palace Music
Floating Points, Crush
Eps 5 The Crypto-Queen
and of course, The Archers…(Actually no Archers – I’m saving them for a 5 hour car journey tomorrow)


4 thoughts on “Al Desko”

  1. First, good luck with the Writers at Sea residency which looks marvellous! Also, I think I read somewhere that Frederick Forsyth wrote ‘The Day of the Jackal’ at an ironing board when he was between houses and sleeping on a friend’s floor – so not having a desk didn’t hold him back! But I’m glad of my desk because it does help me contain my chaos a bit. Doesn’t make me any better at writing, unfortunately. x

    1. Thank you. I’d love to go to the residency… if only for a week of peace and quiet, but mainly the time to write.

      I like the idea of the ironing board improvisation, especially having just done the ironing- sadly nothing came to me while I was doing the shirts.

      I’d say you’re doing fine on the writing front. I’d love to see anything new that’s ready…

      1. This is good news and I’ll wait patiently for the day we get to see some.

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