Baker's Oven

When it comes to writing, it’s all about the location

A LOT OF LIGHT: A writer has to see what they’re writing, non?

William Faulkner, the writer of such tales as Absalom, Absalom and The Sound and the Fury, once admitted his profession was a solitary job.

No one can help you with it. However, it’s not lonely.

Still, within your confinement, you need a special place to hammer out words.

For me, right now, this is not doable as four humans (two big and two wee), and a cat, inhabit a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto.

Before the arrival of the wee ones, this writer had a place all to my own: to write, to fart around in and to be creative.

However, even that was limited in its design, as my Ikea desk was tucked into the corner of our bedroom.

Sigh. C’est la vie.

What I’d really like — and I’m borrowing from Wayne Campbell here — is something extraordinary. Something big. Something mega. Something copious. Something capacious. Something cajunga!

But, I’ll probably end up with some dining room table in what’s called a kitchen in a Toronto neighbourhood falling into disrepair because no one can afford the high house prices … save for the rich white people who play subterfuge and blame foreign investors.

That was a mouthful.

Still, with my wife’s background in interior decorating, and my interest in pop culture and architecture, I think I could map out just what I’d want in an office if money were no object.

Structurally speaking, there would have to be a turret, and the office would have to be two-tiered with a winding staircase in the middle of said turret. Plenty of natural light is a must. And lots of wood. Walnut, mahogany, cherry. It’s got to be wood, and the grain must be visible. None of this modern bullshit where designers paint the wood. If you paint wood, you deserve to be burned at the stake. (This coming from the son of a carpenter).

IT’S GOT TO BE WOOD: If you’re going to have bookshelves, it’s got to be wood, and done up right — perhaps Georgian Revival?

Now, the prevailing design periods in my office would be Art Deco and Georgian Revival. There would be plenty of bookshelves to store my Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, Stephen King, Joseph Conrad, Franz Kafka books, as well as space for the horror books that include William Peter Blatty, Bram Stoker, Ambrose Bierce, M.R. James, Shirley Jackson, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, Joe Hill, Richard Matheson, Arthur Machen and Thomas Ligotti.

Among those books would be my Black Cat statues. I’m talking the Marvel anti-heroine from the follies of Spider-Man, not the feline with an unlucky disposition. There are four pieces I have, including the recent Todd McFarlane piece by Sideshow. I have a couple more comic book statues, including two Dynamic Forces statues — Gambit and Rogue — and a mini Havok bust by Bowen.

Now, these shelves would not be cheap Ikea specials. They would be custom-built, walnut, floor-to-ceiling Georgian Revival, complete with fluted casings, shelf moldings, crown moldings and colonial stop. Nice and clean, on one side of the room.

The winding staircase should lead to a quiet reading nook, with plenty more bookshelves holding the necessary ingredients for research: anthropology, mythology, geography, Fortean texts. Scattered throughout a collection of puffins in varying forms.

Furniture is simple. It’s Parisian Art Deco influenced, and 100 percent aniline leather. You need the couch and a couple of club chairs. It’s got to have a deep stain. As for the desk, I’d like to say an old Victorian roll top would be inspiring, but I’m not interested in writing against a wall.

Either Georgian Revival or Art Deco will do. Now, when it comes to Art Deco, if I can refrain from having ivory on the damn thing, I’ll go with that. Flat top, enough space to include my laptop and a few doodads. An Art Deco lamp, full on the metallic finish with UFO curves, would be among those.

SOFT SPOT: Yes, I like fashion photography, and typically from the greats like Marco Glaviano, Ellen von Unwerth or Herb Ritts.

Now, I’m forgetting one of the big rules of interior design, and that would be a focal point. This, of course, would be a large print of Marco Glaviano’s kissing Cindy Crawford. The shot was done in 1989 on the island of St. Barth.

There would be a Casablanca poster somewhere, a few Ellen von Unwerth shots, perhaps of Alessandra Ambrosio for Vogue Brasil. What can I say, I have a soft spot for fashion photography. Maybe even a shot of Herb Ritts’ shot of the models Cindy, Stephanie, Naomi, Christy, and Tatjana — on gelatin silver print.

Clearly, I would need a TV in the room, and the couch would be planted in front. I prefer Sony, and of course, a PS4 would be connected to it. Plenty of sports and fighting games at the ready.

Finally, if there are windows to be looking out of, what would the view be? I’m big on alpine landscapes. Not close enough to run the risk being right in the midst of an avalanche, but enough to see a great Rocky outcropping, hazed by distance.

Would I have to move to British Columbia for that view? Kelowna is ideal, but of course, there’s the risk of forest fires. What about Kamloops? Well, it’d be great to pay Tranquille on the Lake a visit for inspiration, and I’m sure being able to ski in one place and walk through the desert in another … I’m sold, as long as I can see the Rocky Mountains.

Perhaps, a view of the Rockies while trying to hammer out terrifying tales of demons, cryptids, and things that go bump in the night would be terrifyingly good.

But, alas, I can only dream.

Comments are closed.