This week on Writing Spaces, we take a peek into the temporary working space of Heather Birrell, author of the short story “Tin Jails” in Issue 139.
I think my ability to write has less to do with physical than mental space – and not being exhausted. I am currently NOT exhausted! Which is wonderful. Some of this has to do with the fact that for the last six months I have been on leave from my job and visiting with family on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. My father-in-law gamely set up a desk for me in the bedroom. I have written at the desk very rarely, but I have often appreciated the fact of the desk, and its silhouette against the fantastic view from our window. Plus the desk is a wonderful place for various things to live – stacks of books, a wind-up Postman Pat, piles of shells and stones, Dairy Milk wrappers, a stuffed monkey, rings and other shiny things. The view – behind the caravan borrowed from a generous neighbour for visitor overflow – is of the family croft and the moorland. It has changed and remained the same in so many ways since we arrived. But really, my writerly home is my notebook. If I have a notebook and pen, I can usually (NOT exhausted) write where I’m planted.