Writing Space


Just over 400 words on where I write.

My writing space is calm and still beneath deep and mysterious shadows, with rich, cold leather and rough wood. Near my many-drawered desk sits a small, industrial side table which holds a short selection of aged Japanese whiskeys—sometimes a twelve year Hakushu, Taketsuru pure malt, maybe a half-drained bottle of Suntory. Dusty curtains permit just a sliver of light from the lonely street lamp across the road. I light long-burning candles and sport bamboo soled house slippers. This is the fiction I tell myself as I descend into my reality.

Down here, cold, concrete walls soak up whispering voices and long-unopened volumes watch silently from rows of sickly green shelves. In my broken basement, I write in the stillness for hours, taking short breaks only to drown my reddened eyes in Visine. I imagine that my voice is forever lost in the silence, absorbed by the concrete which faces me, and that the fluorescents have bleached out any last bit of melatonin in my skin. Muffled voices sneak around corners as misspelled obscenities stare up at me from my coffee-stained, blonde wooden desk: “I will NOT draw on this table.” “Concentrate or masterbate or both?” “Holla Holla” is crudely etched in electric flamingo pink. “Like anal? Call me.” The grimy speckled floor is strewn with carelessly discarded pastry bags, and torn flyers hang pathetically from forgotten tape on paint-chipped walls. Crumbs from someone’s unhealthy breakfast lie strewn on every table top. An off-kilter paper sign points to section H1.H-T, where one can find a row of matching taupe hard covers marked Policy Analysis, and eighty seven volumes of Social Science Quarterly.

My literature Professor, an expert in Kabuki and Heian period aristocratic poetry, insists one must write under a clear sky, where a fresh breeze might serve to inspire vivid thoughts. But I much prefer a hidden corner in my broken basement. I find that tangible decrepit things spark the imagination far better than the infinite outdoors.

I don’t get cell service in the basement, and the only one who knows where to find me is the person who told me about the place. We’ll call him Pete. When Pete and I study together, we add to the wandering whispers on floor B. I ask him grammar questions and use him in place of my online thesaurus. He’s a fan of Germanic origin words. Seethe, slumber, prattle. To describe me, he likes: seek, deem, bubble. I can sit and write for ages, but sometimes Pete will give up on grading papers and head to YouTube for Japanese Schwarzenegger commercials. Shuuwa-chan he’s called in the East.

My broken basement is the perfect hiding spot, and it’s where I write every paper. It’s just me and Pete and a couple of crumbs.


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