Friday, May 5, 2017

Writers' rooms / Geoff Dyer

Photograph  by Eamonn McCabe

Writers' rooms: Geoff Dyer

Friday 4 May 2007 10.26 BST

This is version 4.0 of the Dyer study, the Studium Scholasticum. I had the same deal - same desk, same paint, same shelves - in three previous places. It's at the top of the house, as all studies have to be: you know, the brains of the operation. Last year the roof started leaking and it was like having water on the brain, but that's fixed now.
There's an Arthur Koestler essay in which he says there are two kinds of writers: those whose desks offer a view from the window and those who like to face the wall. I'm of the latter persuasion, though I can't remember what kind of writer this makes me in the Koestlerian scheme of things. One who likes to have a shelf above his desk, I suppose. love efficiency. I would like to have a completely clean desk, but stuff mounts up. I always have a photo of Don Cherry taped above my desk (to the left), but it's not always the same picture. Whenever I come across a new picture of the Don, I replace the old one. There's also a photo of my dad in front of the council house where he grew up, looking like a member of the leisure class with his tennis racket and whites.
Apart from that there's nothing totemic, just stuff that's ended up here. (My wife is always fly-tipping stuff in my study. I once got back from America to find she'd dumped a huge chest of drawers up here.) Oh, I guess the red chair has ritualistic value: it's where I worship daily at the altar of the nap-god.
My real pride and joy is the electronic tampura (the little box to the left of the desk) which provides the drone in Indian classical music. I got the idea from Talvin Singh. We were staying in the same hotel in Varanasi and he said he kept one going the whole time. I'm writing a book half set in India, so it's not a complete indulgence. The idea is that, when it's playing, my head's in Varanasi.

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