Tuesday, 6 November 2012

How many 'Swanwicks' is your writing Den?

Ive been reading an article in the October Locus magazine about photographer Kyle Cassidy and his Where I Write project, (click on the link WhereIWrite to see some of the terrific offices where SF/F writers work)

It has given me the urge to take a critical look at my own writing space. Cassidy has developed his own scoring system using Michael Swanwick's office as his benchmark. It takes into account degrees of clutter, awards, files etc. Just about everything that contributes to the feel of the office. Most writers score less than one Swanwick, which means their offices are tidier and more orderly. Others, who are a little wilder might hit 1.5 or even a 2. I'm guessing, with some degree of shame, that my score would be up around the high thirties.

Here's an inventory of some of the distracting clutter I stuff into my room.
Doesn't look too bad from this side...
First, writing related clutter:
Three-and-a-half computers, of which only the netbook is still usable. Stacks of magazines, many dating back to the last century (New Scientist, National Geographic, Locus - from when I used to buy the print copies rather than the e-versions, and various one-off magazines, many of which are unopened); biros, rollerballs, ink pens, none of which work but I can't bring myself to chuck them, because, you know, they worked once so you never know when theyll snatch another breath of life. Then, of course, there's books. Books, books and yet more books. I buy books faster than I can read them. Sometimes I buy the same book one more than once. (There's a fundamental insanity in this behaviour I suspect.)
...but turn around and there is chaos!

Secondly there's all the non-writing clutter:  Three saxophones of which only one is useable or even in tune; a broken ceiling light fitting that once worked; an electric drill charger (I think I lent the drill to someone. Surely it must need charging by now); other orphaned chargers that will never be reunited with their long lost parents; two music stands evil beasts that snip off the ends of your fingers every time they are folded. Theres a winter caravan cover. A Panama hat, God knows where that came from. Four suitcases full of... well, more stuff.

But its a homely kind of place. Im happy with it. I know where everything lives. Mostly. This has been a useful purging exercise. 

And Ive just noticed I have a plastic kit of the Apollo Excursion Module, Eagle, buried behind of my magazine files on top of one of the bookcases. I'd forgotten all about it.That can be my winter project. The LEM will look cool in here, if I can find a space to display it.

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