As a writer, it’s very important for me to change environment when I work. I don’t necessarily need a quiet place like a library, although I often go there because they allow you to drink coffee, they have toilets and you can stay there as long as you want. The only forbidden place to write for me – personally – it’s my room or – even worse! – my bed – although I know that two of my favourite writers like doing so, Patricia Highsmith and Gabriella Campbell. Gabriella said that there’s nothing like a beautiful notebook and a cup of tea to let her imagination flow on the paper. I also read that Patricia spent the days in bed, leaning on fluffy pillows and eating sweets while she wrote her amazing dark short stories – like the ones in her collection The Snail-Watcher and other stories. But I cannot concentrate in my room, because I consider it a place to relax and sleep – and perhaps do some funny stuff, but that doesn’t include writing.
So I would like to introduce in the blog a record of places that I have found inspiring for my art. And I will start talking about Yamuna’s kitchen. Yamuna is my writing pal – we met in our MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. She recently moved houses and because she knows I am a nomadic writer, she offered me her place whenever I might need it.
She lived on 34 Golgotha road in Lancaster* – if you want to pay her a visit it’s too late, by the time I will be publishing this she would have returned to India, sadly. Her house has a cute little kitchen with a big ‘welcome’ written in wooden letters on the wall. There is a circular table besides a window from where you can see the green from the back yard. I love green and open spaces, so for me it is ideal.
Also, one of the advantages of writing inside a kitchen is that it is very easy to reach for coffee and food when your stomach starts growling but you don’t want to stop writing. Plus every time I go and visit Yamuna she makes for me coffee in the Indian style. This means she adds to water two spoons of coffee and two spoons of sugar and then boils it slowly. After a while she filters the dark liquid and… voilà! I always drink my coffee without sugar, but I like Yamuna’s version because it’s not just caffeine, it’s also a treat.
We usually eat chocolate cakes – she buys them for me, she knows I am more of the sweet kind – and the spiciest crackers I can possibly find – I know she needs spices as she needs to breathe oxygen.What you can see in the photo, Hot Chili Chips is my latest discovery in the Spar next to her place. I just could eat a few before my lips and tongue started burning. As always, she maintains it’s not even closer to the spicy level you can find in India… I don’t know if she really means this or if she’s just mocking me – in any case, I had to stop eating those because of survival.
Writing with Yamuna is fun. We listen to vibrant Indian music when she helps me with grammar and gives me interesting ideas. I usually see her staring at the white page of the computer or burying her head in her arms and sleeping over the table. Yet I cannot call this laziness because she’s an amazing writer… – want to check one of her stories?
Do you have any writing pals?
Do you invade their places to write?
Check this sophisticated Indian Coffee recipe in any case, it might strengthen your inspiration!
*This is the coolest name for a road ever.