Alison Stevenson’s Writing Space
I write in various places around the house, but this is my ‘office.’ As well as writing, I keep writing-related stuff here, including notes and papers and some books I find useful and/or inspiring. I also carry out my day job here. It’s a kind of Murphy-bed set-up, in that I can sit on a chair or a ball, and the desk raises up and I can swivel everything around to the other side where there’s more space for standing. (How much do I stand? – not very.) I can close my work laptop and stack my personal Mac on top and thereby transform from mild-mannered day-job Clark-Kent-esque bespectacled person moving words around a page into the same person but moving (hopefully) more interesting words.
There’s no window to look out of, which is just as well, since I’d probably spend a lot of time looking out of it. Another good thing is the ergonomic set-up, which I think is crucial, given the amount of time I (like many people) spend at a keyboard.
The artwork is by my mother, Joyce Stevenson, and by my children when they were young. There are various other things here that please me, like sashiko embroidery from my daughter, a wooden box with a secret drawer my father made for my fourteenth birthday, a rock that looks sort of like a brain and another piece of rock with dried mould on it that looks like leaves.
I would describe myself as a slow writer – no splashing down pages of stuff and editing it later. I usually build up a story word by word, sentence by sentence, and do a lot of editing and re-editing as I go. I would say that’s reflected in my physical space by not having external stimulation from a window, or music, and by having a set-up that lets me work for long periods away from distractions.
Alison Stevenson’s work has appeared in Prairie Fire and The New Quarterly, was longlisted for the CBC and TNQ/Peter Hinchcliffe prizes, a finalist in the Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story and was selected for the Eden Mills Festival Fringe Stage. She has attended The Humber School for Writers, U of T School of Continuing Studies and Iowa Writers’ Workshop summer workshop. She is working on a collection.