By Sarra Manning.
This is as tidy as I ever get, which is practically minimalist compared to how my desk used to look when I was on magazines. The piles of paper, mags, CDs, books, were so high that I literally could not see over the top of them. One of my proudest yet shaming moments was when an ergonomic expert took a picture of my workspace and showed it to the entire company as a good example of a fire hazard. So, progress!
Desk – Fifties, formica kitchen table, I got for free when I bought a 1930’s lounge suite, which fell apart within six months. The table is still going strong.
Chair – 1960’s chair that started life in a French hairdressers.
Macbook Pro – I have NEVER been PC, never will. Don’t even get me started. Although I write on a laptop, I have to work at my desk, no sprawling, legs akimbo on the floor in madcap Carrie Bradshaw-esque abandon for me.
Papers – that’s the marked up manuscript of the first draft of the novel I’m working on right now. Unfortunately, most of the bits I did mark-up I’ve now decided to cut and the bits I didn’t mark up, I wish I had. It’s a process. That notebook also has about version five on my outline.
Books – I’m writing a novel that’s half set during World War 2, which is a period I know very well but still needs lots of research. On that pile is Wartime Britain 1939-1945 by Juliet Gardner, Daily Mail Year Book 1944, London 1945 by Maureen Waller, Few Eggs And No Oranges: The Diaries Of Vere Hodgson 1940-45, London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes.
Pictures – No, it’s not the London tube map, except it kind of is. It’s actually a print called The Great Bear by Simon Patterson, where the tube lines are all adapted so the Northern Line stations are all the names of actors, Philosophers on the Circle Line, the Jubilee Line is footballers and so on. It was my leaving present from J17 magazine and great help when I’m thinking up character names.
Below it is a poster from The Golden Age Of Couture exhibition at the V&A museum. It’s a timeline of great deisngers rom Molyneux to Chanel.
Then there are two Elaine Constantine photographs, which capture all the exuberance and joy of being a teenage girl. I would love to use one as a book cover.
Below is a flyer for an exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery, Glamour Of The Gods: Hollywood Portraits and just below that is a postcard of a painting called Blue Stockings.
Clock: Another tube reference if you look closely. I’m obsessed with the iconography of the London Underground.
Stuff: Including tape measures, loads of pens (I can only edit using red fiber tips from Muji) lip balm, hand cream, butterscotch drops, toe separators, paper, books, more paper, more books, tissues, printer with a pile of books on it. The stuff, it never ends.
It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning is out now published by Corgi, £6.99
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.