Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Non-writers' Rooms

This is the room in which I do not write. The computer screen is open only to hide from sight the three books behind it. I prefer not to be reminded of failure. The one book in view is Maurice Blanchot's The Book to Come as I believe it adds an ironic counterpoint to my otherwise desolate non-writerly existence. It's gone now.

Resting on the Moleskine Ruled Notebook (Large) is a Pilot V7 Hi-Techpoint 0.7 Pure Liquid Ink pen. Both offer promise of annotating the undying torment of my profoundly literary imagination. On the open page you can see the beginnings of what might be the last poem I ever write: "Soya milk, bread, porridge".

The lamp and the candle are never used because darkness enables me to forget the memories they contain. The lamp I stole from a German friend. At the time, I wanted a reminder of his fine, civilised nation as I prepared to leave never to return, while the candle was a gift from a beautiful woman of that same land whom I haven't seen since she discovered I wanted to be a writer. It's a misunderstanding, I told her, and that I could explain, but she had seen the discarded pen caps, the dense scribbles in notebooks and the hoard of unread books. It was too late. She looked into my blank eyes and left.

Above the desk on which I do not write are two pictures. On the right is a photograph I snapped whilst strolling in the Ninth Circle of Hell on the Sussex coast. On the left, out of sight, is a work entitled Ruining by an artist who has since taken up painting.

The only thing on the desk that I have yet to explain is the glob of Icelandic lava. I have no idea what it's doing there. Perhaps it was placed there as a curse to prevent me from writing. Iceland, I understand, is expanding.


  1. That's beautiful, Stephen.

  2. Brilliant!

    Great light, by the way. (The quality of light through the window; not the desk light.)

  3. ... seriously, are you okay?

  4. Anonymous6:55 am

    Is this the first in a series (of rooms in which you do not write); or first in a series of rooms of others who do not write? Very intriguing. It seems to depend upon the placement of that apostrophe!


  6. And the reason you don't write books when you have this kind of talent in your fingers is?

  7. Anonymous9:13 pm

    I think you know what I might say, being the obnoxiously cheerful American that I am, full of derring-do: 1) Light the candle, which is actually something I do when faced with a difficult task and this candle, lit for your writerly purpose, would provide the perfect response to the giver of said candle; 2) Write the book. Iceland's expansion is your unfulfilled yearning. Go throw that rock in the sea.

  8. Yes, absolutely. The Guardian series is hugely annoying, even more so than those has-worked-as-a-dishwasher-and-lives-with-an-aardvark author biogs, a way of 'covering' writers that deliberately avoids any engagement with what they have (or have not) written.

  9. So clean. The prose and the desk.



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