A friend of mine, also a struggling writer, and I had a discussion, and we’d like to add a few things to that.
First of all, a mulberry tree. We’ve noticed that a lot of the homes of creative people we’ve visited recently either had, or once had, a mulberry tree (Shakespeare, Hogarth, Darwin, possibly Keats). It seems to be a very inspirational tree – so we would like one. And a garden to put it in please.
A helpmeet would be useful. Someone to do all those little time-consuming chores, that insist on dragging us away from the page. Someone to do the ironing and washing up, and answer the door, and place cups of tea discreetly at my elbow and prepare wonderful meals for me to dig into after a hard day’s writing.
A room of my own I have. However, I only have four rooms, each of which already has a specific purpose. What I really need is a room with a desk and a few reference books and nothing else to distract me. No TV, no mound of washing to be ironed, no unmade bed – in other words, a proper study.
And nowadays, rather than £500, I think I’d need £30,000 a year (without having to actually do a ob to get it). That should keep me well supported, as well as pay for those ‘inspirational research trips’ to the South of France that I crave.
A friend in publishing would be very useful. It seems to be even more difficult to be published now than it was in Ms Woolf’s time (unless you happen to be already famous for singing, acting, or being snapped by paparazzi falling out of cabs drunk and flashing your knickers). A nice little contact who can tell me all the inside news, and point me in the right direction and discreetly put my work to the top of the pile would be nice.
But as I have none of those, I guess I’ll have to make do with what I’ve got. And the occasional trip to Hogarth’s House to sit under the mulberry tree.