I’m lucky to have my own writing space right in my home. The items that take up the room are special because they were thrifted, found, made or given to me. The desk is relatively new here. My dad found it in alley near my parent’s house and brought it home probably about two years ago. People are always putting things in the alley where they live. It’s nice (if you like other people’s junk like I do). After my dad passed away last year, I took the desk home, and sanded it down to paint it flat antique white. It looked like the previous owners painted or attempted to paint it so many times. There was red, turquoise, some scraps of wall paper—all the bruises a well-made if not well-treated desk has. It’s smaller than my old IKEA desk was, but I love it.
The shelf came from Room collective member Alissa McArthur before she moved to Toronto, and the chair was thrifted near my house. It goes with a 1950s dining set. I have books stashed throughout the house, but like the ones in here most right now. The leather notebook is quite beautiful and was a gift from my partner’s parents before I went to my first residency. I’ve kept journals on and off throughout my life.
I made the “Activate Your Ears” sign earlier this year after doing a collaboration with Vancouver-based artist Carmen Papalia. We went for a walk in December 2014 and experienced the park using our nonvisual senses. The sign was a part of a personal documentation/processing piece I did afterwards. I put it on the wall as a friendly reminder to myself.
I also write on the go, so I’ll often set up my laptop or notebook in coffee shops, libraries, food courts, park benches, etc. I usually write in short spurts, well under 60 minutes, so wherever I can fit it in works for me. When I get time to be in my home, though, it feels nice. Plus my tuxedo cats are here!
When I write I usually listen to music, depending on my mood. Sometimes I prefer non-lyric, ambient. But other times Sonic Youth, Lou Reed, Tanya Tagaq, David Bowie, or The Knife. Though, more and more I like silence. I also light incense and drink tea to create a mellow space. I’ve been doing the same ritual of incense and tea for over 10 years, so it’s a quick way for me to feel focussed.
My favourite thing about my tiny office is the view of a magnificent Norway spruce in the backyard. The tree attracts stragglers from the Pacific Flyway, and I've had hummingbirds, warblers, and waxwings distract me from my writing tasks.
I start my writing day with a huge cup of coffee, followed by many cups of decaf chai.
Rose is the assistant editor of the upcoming issue 39.3, Canadian Gothic. She writes about her writing space:
My favourite thing about this space is the big windows. All the natural light makes squinting at the computer for hours easier on my eyes and being able to look outside generally makes me feel more like part of the world. I also like being right beside the kitchen, for easy access to snacks.
As far as rituals go, I'm a firm believer in listening to music while I write. Because I do a lot of music reviews, I'll often put whatever album I'm reviewing on repeat. If I'm writing anything else, I'll just pick a playlist to match my mood (so there's almost always at least one Salt-N-Pepa jam on there).