A bed in which novels are written

It is generally accepted that writing cannot be made too viewable. How entertaining can mental warping after a point really be? And when this phase is mercifully over and the author finally gets into the flow, how exciting can it be to see a person hunched over a desk and writing by hand, or lately in all sorts of postures that the luxury of a laptop can offer, To see punching? away at his keys? Hence, it is not always easy for writers to talk about the physicality of the writing process or its relationship to the spaces that allow writing without the benefit of retrospect.

In this edition of Creative Corner, however, author Anjali Joseph, who came out with her fourth novel Stay in Touch Earlier this year, it keeps very real. “One vote for the bed,” she says after answering our questions.

Describe your current job to us.

I slide books, a notebook, a sketchbook, and a laptop between a few different places: my bed, the dining table, and the table in the hut in the garden.

Has it always been like this? Or has that developed over the years?

I like to sit cross-legged so the bed has often been a constant, but after a while sitting on the bed and looking at a laptop, it’s nice to move to a table rather than bend over. Sometimes it’s nice to work in the cabin that is out of the range of broadband. I’ve worked a lot to revise the final draft of Keeping in Touch.

Anjali Joseph works in bed

Anjali Joseph works in bed
(Courtesy Anjali Joseph)

How would you define your daily relationship with this space?

It depends which room, but apart from the hut they all have a constant presence in my day, especially the bed. Aside from the obvious sleeping and waking up, I also spend a lot of time here collecting the things I need around me, be it my laptop, phone and headphones, or the laundry I’m folding. See also [in illustration]: the empty bowl from my lunch break khichdi (I could eat khichdi once or twice a day for the rest of my life without getting tired) and my sketchbook, a pen and a small box of watercolors. I seem to treat the bed as an island of sorts to be castaways on.

Joseph's own illustration of her workplace

Joseph’s own illustration of her workplace
(Courtesy Anjali Joseph)

Tell us about some of your Eureka moments and important work that you did from here.

I’ve worked on a lot Stay in Touch somewhere on a bed, whether in Guwahati or in England. A lot of Sarasvati Park [her first novel, which won the the Betty Trask Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize, and jointly won the Vodafone Crossword Book Award for Fiction in 2010] was also written on a bed, sometimes on a desk or in an armchair. I wonder if there will be a branch of literary studies in the future that analyzes a text in terms of the author’s spinal health? Attitude aside, I find the incursions of the rest of life around me altogether welcome. I am a writer who likes distractions; it’s easier to sort of focus when other things are happening too. Otherwise, I’ll have to resort to that giant squid of distraction, the internet.

If you were to trade this place for another what would it be?

Well, I would be very open to working on my craft from a beach hut in the Maldives, Seychelles, or an attractive South Sea island. All I have to do is figure out how to take my husband and the cat with me.

Also read: This author’s desk glows like a jewel in the sunlight

Creative Corner is a series about writers, artists, musicians, founders and other creative people and their relationships with their workspaces.


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