Kirk Marshall says…
For my part – and in this forum for intimate, writerly expression – I’ve got to openly submit here to conceding that for the longest time I’ve resented the contention that a tactile, geographical environment impacts on the quality of an author’s work. I do, however, freely and cordially embrace the notion that a physical, authorial space administers a significant influence upon a writer’s work ethic.
For wherever I work – be this sprawling over and scrawling onto the leg of an armchair – be this conveniently adopting the Yellow Pages as both a makeshift desk and seer-stone for its infinite supply of barbarous character names – be this scrawling my linguistically anomalous breed of hieroglyph into water-choked moleskines, or onto the backs of lurid junkmail pamphleteering the services of professional suburban podiatrists moonlighting as dental technicians – be this writing with my fingertip into granulated mounds of sugar, or into nuggets of spilled coffee grounds, before palming my idle attempts at kitchen literature into my enamel-ware mug and consuming these same imperfect sentences with soy milk so sweet I can almost mask the bitter taste of haphazard syntax – for wherever my compulsion to write seizes me, my stamina for producing is dependent upon a space where personal comfort reigns supreme.
I’d claim, therefore, that I’m only productive when I possess an arena to write in that is as supple and accommodating as an old, fuzzy, sublime memory. I don’t want to resign myself to having to assemble a new or revised order from the things around me, every time I sit down to unfurl my fists: writing should be like fly-fishing or tossing the ball; surveying your immediate surroundings, you should know the way and wend of the river, you should sink back into your chair with the faultless ease of a hand into a well-oiled baseball glove.
For me, if you’re having to repeatedly grapple with your workspace each time you succumb to your keyboard – as though words are only valid and apparent when chaos has been cast asunder – then your reserve of energy is being channelled into an unnecessary endeavour. Eventually, a desk will clean itself, but the words won’t ever fail to sprawl, to clutter up, to generate their own forms of fungus and dust. Eventually, there comes a time when you have to accept that objects in disarray won’t tell you anything. The words are skulking in the negative space around them, and unless it stinks of week-old pizza a writer has more important concerns to devour.
(And to prove it, this is a picture of mine and my partner’s living room table. It’s like a Google Map image of domestic love).
Kirk will be appearing in the Two Sides of the Coin debate: Art vs Craft, as part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival Melbourne Town Hall program (launched later this week).
Kirk Marshall is the Brisbane-born(e), Melbourne-based author of A Solution to Economic Depression in Little Tokyo, 1953, a 2007 Aurealis Award-nominated full-colour illustrated graphic novelette. He holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Creative Writing), with Distinction from the Queensland University of Technology, and a first-class Honours degree in Professional Writing from Deakin University. This year, he’s a non-fiction columnist for ‘ISM: online’, an international think-tank for creative youth, a panelist for the Emerging Writers’ Festival, and editor of Red Leaves, Australia’s only English-language/Japanese bi-lingual literary journal http://www.myspace.com/redleaveskoyo.