My hair is tidy; if a little long. My eyes are heavy – blue, but bloodshot. My features both puffy and sharp; stubble of two days is scratchy and loud to touch. I sit like a burst couch, slumped midway between chair back and table.
I’m wearing worn clothes. Not worn as in draped over, more worn as in fraying. The cuffs on my hoodie are going. The collar on my shirt has gone – the ends of my jeans both grey and tattered. I am a man who clearly does not care for shopping.
The room’s lights have been dimmed to the point I’m tempted to turn them up – but I continue to write. Continue to stare through the glare of the screen in front of me. I type on a laptop with a faulty G key. I have to press the G key harder than I think is wise.
The room is a kitchen. It’s a kitchen I worried would cost too much to renovate. Would be transformed and remain unused. I would still sit in other rooms. Still sit, transfixed to the sporting figures flickering across the TV in the ‘living lounge’ – as my daughter likes to call it. I was wrong. The kitchen is now my “studio”; my creative space. It is the place I surround myself with ideas – with things to write about.
The kitchen isn’t quite finished. A bare, unpainted wall is part hidden by the art work of a two and a half year old. For something to end up, not quite finished, is not uncommon in my life – my Open University studies, a number of books, a blog post or two – all evidenced in this room.
The room harbours an unhealthy mix of the old and new. Unhealthy in that it makes me crave the replacement of old, with the unnecessary desire for the new. An old oven is clearly unloved – dirty, covered in grease. It sits below a new, glossy – shiny oven with touch screen buttons. It is rare for us to use both as planned. I’ll rectify that with a roast dinner on New Year’s Eve.
Opposite the oven sits a coffee machine. It is a coffee machine that no longer works due to the laziness of this blogger. I put an important piece through the new dishwasher – tarnishing the portafilter. I can replace the portafilter. I’d rather replace the whole machine. It has outlived my want to replace it.
A bottle of wine sits on the table. It’s Australian. It is a blend; 14.5%. I ungratefully tweeted about the wine today. I should have happily accepted it in the spirit it was offered – instead I passed comment. I judged the wine. I wish my first step was to not approach life on the negative path.
I’m listening to “Birdhouse in Your Soul”. It’s a favourite, but rare in that I never moved beyond it; never checked out other records by They Might Be Giants. I have plenty of records by bands I only ever enjoyed one song from – why not this band?
I notice an envelope on the table. It has Amy’s name first. All, bar one of the Christmas cards we have received have started with Amy’s name first. I’m not a card sender. It is therefore unwise to assume I will be a card receiver.
My tea has gone cold. I’d prefer a coffee. The more I type the colder the tea will get. I will finish it, in one, with a wince. I never let coffee get to that point.
My thoughts return to the room – to the wine, the cow cup, the coffee machine, the exposed wood covering the pipes, the elephant painting, the dimmed lights, the seven weeks we were forced to live with the in-laws whilst we waited for this moment – even the money we spent. It was all worth it.
This is my room. This is my studio.
This is where my ideas come to life.
This post was inspired by Rembrandt’s “The Artist in His Studio”