I’ve tried to ween myself off the kitchen – it’s too near the kettle and the biscuits (too near the washing-machine and the cooker and the ironing-board as well). I’ve set myself up with a beautiful desk in a bay window upstairs, overlooking the garden, but for some reason I’m drawn back to the kettle and the biscuits.
The kitchen is my favourite room. It’s a big space, like a farmhouse kitchen, with a solid table in the middle – just right for eating and socialising, and, as it happens, writing stories.
It’s good for writing stories because it’s already full of stories.
At home the old tins, flat irons, butter pats and jelly moulds would be polished, repainted, repaired, or recycled into something else then arranged, with maximum fussing around the shelves and cupboards.
Eventually though the shelves and cupboards filled up and the children grew out of their buggies and went to school. The house was quieter and I had time to think, so I started writing.
Now I write at the kitchen table with all these things keeping me company. I love them because they’ve all got a story – although I might not know what that story is. They’ve all lived a life before with someone else, somewhere else, and I can feel the vibes coming off them, so rather than finding them distracting I find them inspiring. They remind me of how many stories there are to tell out there, how many lives have been lived, how many people have come and gone leaving their echoes behind.
Visitors often come into my kitchen and gaze about before asking: ‘Wow. Who dusts all this?’ I laugh because no-one dusts it, obviously. We’ve got better things to do – including writing stories. ‘It’ll get dusted when we leave,’ I say.
As I sit at the kitchen table, on the wall opposite between the mobile of old silver spoons and the vintage egg-cups, is the big clock that nags me about how long I’ve got until the next meal time or when my daughter will get back from school.
This is probably the most important thing in the room because it warns me: Write. Time is short. Write now.
Truestory by Catherine Simpson is out now.