Gang Gang Cockatoo
photo: Max Thompson
I work best in silence. My dream life responds to an undisturbed sleep, especially on waking. This is necessary for me to capture and remember; otherwise my thoughts get distracted and disappear. It doesn’t take much! My beloved loves news and listens to the BBC in the night with earphones that work a treat.
He tells me I snore. Well, he doesn’t like to believe it, but he does too. So if I can get to sleep first that is a bonus. Fortunately he doesn’t complain about this. I have found that if he’s snoring I try to imagine the ocean, with the waves representing his snores. This allows me to relax and gradually drift off. Dreams are an essential part of my psyche and allow my imagination free reign. This nocturnal excitement surpasses the passivity of day- time.
My family always said at breakfast, ‘Oh no, not again!’ So I’d get them to tell me theirs, and they loved to share their dreams. Fortunately this is a shared delight these days, discussing our very active dream lives.
Now the children have grown and departed my thoughts are my own. I do notice when the grandchildren come to stay, I treat it as a vacation and don’t attempt to write. I’m lucky enough to have a room where I can write. It is small and intimate with a window looking out to some greenery. My beloved is ensconced in the studio, so our cohabitation happens mostly at meal times and at night, which suits us both.
Music has been put on hold because of Millie, who is gradually adapting. She cries in her loudest voice when music offends her… Our previous pair of spaniels loved music. It must be the highly-strung nature of the poodle/spaniel cross, which brings intelligence but also sensitivities unknown to the placid nature of spaniels.
Writing space Where do you produce your best writing—at your desk, on your phone, at a noisy café? Tell us how the environment affects your creativity. Ben Huberman