On the book tour for Jane Tilley’s new book called, ‘The Woman Who Kept Everything’, Jane talks about her own writing space.
I had an urge to write from a very early age and when I was 7, I wrote a poem called ‘Night is Drawing In’. My mother sent it to People’s Friend and they published it. I’d written it in the back of a school exercise book, on the kitchen floor, using a thick pencil, which my mother then typed and sent off.
Throughout my primary school years I would write poems or a few lines of prose at the back of exercise books whilst I was supposed to be learning lessons. Yet when we were actually asked to write a story – yippee – my stories droned on and on. Once, in secondary school I got caught out, writing a little story in the back of my biology book. I was good at biology but I liked writing more. Yet the canny teacher just smiled and asked if I wanted other paper to write on.
Life took over from those early days of attempting to write. I travelled, moved to Jersey, got married. No children, unfortunately, but an adorable lop eared rabbit called Percy and a cute but mischievous Senegal parrot called Solly.
You can’t really cuddle a parrot per se. You can rub it’s head or tickle it’s tummy. Either way you soon come to realise just how much mischief a tiny bird can create when it’s not getting enough attention!
We live in a one bedroom ground floor flat on the outskirts of St Helier, Jersey. There’s no room for an office. It’s been slotted onto the far wall of our bedroom. A west facing window sits next to it with shrubbery to look out on. Plus it’s quiet. So when I’m writing that’s where I like to sit and work. And I make time, every day, to give my animals some attention and go for a walk.
However, when Solly wants MORE attention she SCREAMS the place down! We’re allowed pets here but no-one wants a screeching parrot all day, least of all me.
I’ve tried things like moving her cage from the lounge to the bedroom so she can see me or moving my computer into the lounge. But then she fidgets because she expects me to play with her or she chatters incessantly. Leaving her to fly around in the lounge by herself doesn’t work because then she starts nibbling things or tries to nip my house bunny, Percy, who she’s jealous of!
Then I introduced the word ‘Work’ to her. “I’m just going to do some Work.” I’d say. Luckily parrots are fast learners, so it didn’t take long before she finally understood that, even though I can’t always be there in front of her, I can be there soon. So – hurrah – now I have my peace to work and after an hour or so all I hear is a little wistful noise that means, ‘Hi there! Can I have my head rubbed now?’
You can buy The Woman Who Kept Everything from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.