What do writers and women of the night have in common? Prostitution, you may say**. But we also both work in bed.
Today I am feeling a little ropey, a bit meh, like I’ve got some sort of bug hanging around me. It might have something to do, too, with the last glass of wine I drank last night, which was one more than I should have had. I was out to see the extraordinarily skilled mime/dancer Yael Karavan in her show In-Between at the Nightingale Theatre, Brighton, and what with the lengthy discussions in the bar about how challenging some of us more traditional types find reading work that is not narrative-led, I got a bit carried away.
Anyway, back to the point. Today I am working in bed. This is not something I do often, because it feels too naughty, like bunking off. But there are many literary precedents for this: Proust, Pushkin, Phillip Pullman and (to prove your name doesn’t have to start with P) Edith Wharton. Perhaps it is because it feels naughty, though, that I find it so productive – I get masses done like this. My friend Sue Maclaine, who also likes to write in bed, says it gives you permission to be free, to write your dreams – you are less constricted by formal concerns. I tend to agree.
Of course, this is only possible when Old Man is on tour, because he works a the other end of our big loft bedroom when he’s around. But this is practically all the time, so rather irrelevant as a concern.
But I do have a lovely, purpose built shed at the bottom of the garden (built by Hut), so I do spend most days down there. It is changing, though, into a writer’s room rather than a graphic design studio. I have installed a battered old armchair and a couple of rugs to throw over myself. I might even get rid of what I call my dirty-work table (for gluing, painting, charcoal) and install a day bed. Don’t think I can get rid of the giant plan chest, though. That seems just a little too final for comfort. I suppose I still have it in the back of my mind that it might all go tits up and I’ll have to go back to the commercial world to keep food in my family’s bellies. Enough, faint heart!
But today, I am tucked up in bed, working. Really hard.
But to those who have to get up and get dressed to face the world on this chilly damp morning: pleased rest assured, I do feel guilty.
**But I say “no, I am true to my art and cast commercial concerns aside”. Back to top