Welcome to my garret.
I say garret because, as a geeky teenager growing up in rural Ohio, that was my dream of being a writer – living up a set of rickety Dickensian stairs in darkest London, hand-writing enormous manuscripts beside an ancient iron radiator, content in poverty because in my soul I owned all the riches I could see from my window. Sort of a cross between David Copperfield and Jo March. I read very little contemporary literature in those days (and may not have believed contemporary could be called ‘literature’, ahem).
Twenty years on, after a long stint as an office girl and a lot of experience writing unsold novels, not quite acquiring a succession of agents, and editing a lot of other people’s manuscripts for free, I am living The Dream. Living The Dream means I write down ‘Editor/Writer’ on forms I fill out. It means seeing my name come up with results on Amazon. It means people coming up to me wanting to discuss articles I’ve written. It means, oh happy day, getting paid for what I do, albeit still under levels that would require me to fill out tax forms.
The Dream looks a little different from my expectations, however. Or at least, my garret does. My place of work is not an attic up a staircase in the lee of St Paul’s. It’s a suburban semi-detached somewhere in greater Edinburgh. It’s a branch of Starbucks (okay, McDonalds – they’re cheaper, have parking, and now they do flat whites). It’s the café at the Scottish Parliament. It’s the car, with my two sleeping kids in the back seat. It’s bed, late at night – a lot.
But this space here, this blog, this can be my garret. When I’m here, I’m alone with words, and other people who love them. Put on some music, pour yourself a cup of coffee, put on your slippers (or at least take off your coat, if you’re in a Starbucks), and make yourself at home.