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There’s a scene in “Sex & the City: The Movie” (I’ll hold it there while you roll your eyes) where Carrie Bradshaw goes shopping for a new desk. She says to her fellow shopper Charlotte that “it’s all about the desk. If I find the desk the writing will come”. So true. Workspace is important. I once wrote a chapter of my book on a sofa, with my laptop balanced on my knees unsteadily, next to a friend who was watching the 2010 hit movie “Burlesque” starring Christina Aguilera and Cher (great film), a dishwasher rumbling somewhere in the background and a dog pawing at me incessantly. When I re-read the work I had done that afternoon, I discovered that I had written paragraphs that merged my writing with dialogue spoken by Cher. Such as:

I could practically feel my pale green eyes dilate into a pair of emotionless pools. I grabbed Kirk’s wrist, brought the knife to his forearm, positioned the tip of the blade to his skin, and slashed his flesh in one brisk motion. He screamed aloud in shock and agony. A bright red slit formed and began to leak blood. My next thought went to my cream rug; and so on impulse, I pushed myself back in my chair, lifted my leg and kicked Kirk powerfully. He toppled over awkwardly, falling off the rug he was on and onto the wooden floor next to it. He yelped like a hound as he crashed to the ground, landing on his bleeding arm. “There,” I said. “Bleed on the wood. It’s easier to clean up…and who knew a white girl could sing like that!

Anyway. I have the forthcoming month of December off, and am going to spend most of it A) decking the halls with conifer sprigs & glazed cherries and B) ploughing through the remainder of the novel I am writing, with the aim to get it mostly complete so I can do something with it in 2013. I’ve been re-jigging my apartment a bit, which has involved me creating a proper workspace for myself. I decided I need a desk to sit at, so that I actually have an area that’s dedicated to my creative writing. The dining table is being dismantled and put in storage, to resurface when I host dinner parties (stuffed autumn gourds anyone?) and a writing desk is going in. On Sunday my friends Charlotte & Dan asked me if I’d go to Ikea with them (see a pictorial of this below), so I got the desk then, as I’d seen a really nice one that I wanted. I’d call it vintage chic – looks antique with a modern finish (and is annoyingly in need of self-assembly).

Charlotte & Dan (or the Drurys as I’ll now call them) are moving at the weekend and wanted some bits and pieces. They are, tragically, I.N.s – Ikea Novices. The poor lambs needed the guidance of myself and our friend Sarah in navigating around the Yellow & Blue kingdom, Wembley (which was once the setting for an umbrella stabbing during sales season). Sarah is an I.T.A. – an Ikea Tag-Along, in that she just comes along for the ride, takes up space in the car that could be used for transporting hat stands and makes comments all day like “what would you do if I just started running around the glassware section, smashing it all?” Productive. I was there as resident I.W. – Ikea Whore. I once went 3 times in one week! And the day after my grandfather died I dealt with it by driving there on my own and buying a massive sofa (I’m still not quite sure how I managed to get that home by myself). It’s always less stressful going shopping when you’re not the one with a massive agenda of items to get. Aside from this desk and a teal bathmat, I was able to float around the aisles with Sarah like a couple of carefree wood-nymph twins. The Drurys didn’t quite grasp that you don’t need a trolley until you get down to home accessories, and that you don’t need a flat trolley until you get to the warehouse – bless them!

Going to Ikea with a newly married couple is an experience. By the time we’d reached “bed frames”, Charlotte had declared that she should have had a drink in the car on the way up, in order to prepare herself for the day. Dan was ready to go home by the time we got to “bathroom linens”, unaware that he still had to retrieve all the flat pack furniture from the warehouse and then play that fun game of “will it fit in the car or will we be driving on the M4 with the boot partly open?” The highlight of the day was Doormat Gate. Charlotte had aspirations of a “Welcome” mat, embellished with swirling lettering and a floral motif. Dan, however, came across a jaunty mat that asked the question “You Again?” The tension built up throughout the day, with the impending debate looming about which one to get. When we reached the doormat section, Sarah and I sat on a pile of shag rugs whilst watching the Drurys debate in hushed tones about the serious implications that come with choosing a doormat. This is the first thing one sees when one comes to visit. Did they want their guests to feel invited and longed-for? Or was wit the dish of the day? Did they want to take the risk of suggesting that they don’t take kindly to guests? Does “You Again?” tempt one’s guests to turn on their heel in the face of being snubbed? Is that too high a price to pay for the sake of jocundity?

Sarah and I watched through the gap in the two piles of doormats. Which one would win? In the end, the decision was made: jollity won out, and if you pop over to the Drury’s new home for a cup of tea, you’ll be welcomed by a mat that says “You again? Go away! Oh, come back! We jest! Come on in! We’re just fun like that!”

Other highlights of the day: my giving the finger to a man in the MacDonald’s drive-thru car park; discovering that Ikea sell cuddly toys in the shape of giant broccoli storks; Charlotte & Dan’s attempt at retrieving part 2 of 2 of my Leksvik desk; and the observation that Ikea Christmas decorations are “too Swedish”.

Anyway I have a new desk and now feel like a proper writer. Just don’t ask to come round for dinner.

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One thought on “I get my ya-yas from Ikea

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