The Room Where I Write, by Author Martyn Bedford
Have you ever been curious about where your favorite authors spend their writing hours? We featured a peek into an author’s workspace a while back, and want to bring you more of these “studio tours” in the future. Today, we welcome young adult author Martyn Bedford, who gives us a look at his English writer’s garret.
Flip, Martyn’s novel, is a mind-bending mix of suspense and mystery, with a philosophical bent. This is an astonishing book, and very unique. It would be perfect to recommend to teens or adults that love challenging mysteries or science fiction.
Cliché has it that writers are meant to work in a garret, waiting for the Muse to strike. Well, I don’t know about the Muse, but I do write in a garret.
Strictly speaking, it’s an attic that has been converted to a bedroom at the top of a four-storey Victorian row-house in a small town in the north of England. And it’s not at all dingy but actually quite bright and airy and, from the balcony window, there’s a spectacular view of the moorland hills that overlook the town.
But, to minimise distraction, I’ve positioned my desk against a blank wall under the sloping eaves. Tucked away in a corner with my back to the room, I can almost believe I’m in a writer’s private study – not a bedroom with laundry draped over the radiators and an unmade bed that still reeks faintly of last night’s sleep.
The advantage of being right at the top of the house is that I can’t hear the phone or the doorbell, or the sounds of my daughters squabbling or playing on the Wii. I also get plenty of exercise, walking down three flights of stairs to the basement kitchen to make coffee, lunch, tea etc, then back up again to my garret.
I keep my desk tidy, even if the bedroom isn’t. I can’t work among the clutter of dishevelled papers. So, there’s just the laptop, the printer, a notepad and a “desk organiser” crammed with pens, papers, old notebooks and the like. Everything else is stowed away in the drawers.
I did have a plastic Homer Simpson figure on the printer but every time I printed a document he’d fall off. On the wall to the right of the desk is a small framed print of Picasso’s Guernica and a shelf with a statue of the Buddha and a replica of one of the soldiers in the Chinese terracotta army at Xi’an, mementoes of a trip to Asia.
To the other side of the desk is a small triangular table stacked with files and, next to that, a bookcase containing a dictionary, thesaurus and other reference books. I have no internet connection to the laptop (another distraction avoidance) so if I want to look anything up I have to do it the old-fashioned way.
I like to be at my desk straight after I’ve breakfasted and showered. But if I start too early it means writing against the background noise of the hairdryer from the other corner of the room as my wife gets ready for work. No self-respecting Muse will visit a garret where someone’s drying their hair.