Where I Write: A multi-storied kitchen

Image by Catherine Simpson
Category: Writing

My kitchen is enough to make a minimalist curl up into a ball and cry. Every inch is covered in stuff dragged back from charity shops. When the kids were still in buggies, I’d struggle home with the mismatched plates, chipped bowls, tarnished jam pans, Horlicks mixers; kitchenalia of all types. Round the buggy handle I would sling picture frames or old kettles tied with string, once even a 1920’s toaster – all the while the kid peering out from the seat chewing on some, ‘Spot’ or ‘Mog’ book rescued from Oxfam.

At home the old tins, flat irons, butter pats and jelly moulds would be polished, repainted, repaired, or recycled into something else, then arranged - with a lot of thought, fussing and rearrangement -around the many shelves and cupboards. I wasn’t even put off when, standing on the kitchen units arranging a particularly fine coffee grinder, I lost my balance and toppled backwards ricocheting off the cooker and broke my ribs.

Then the shelves and cupboards filled; the children grew out of their buggies and went to school. The house was quieter and I had time to think, so I spent more time writing.

Now I write at the kitchen table with all of these things keeping me company. I love them because I know they’ve all got a story – although I might not know what that story is. They’ve all lived a life before with someone else, somewhere else and I can feel their vibe, so rather than finding them distracting, I find them inspiring. They remind me of how many stories there are to tell out there, how many lives have been lived, how many people have come and gone and left their echoes behind.

On the wall opposite where I sit at the kitchen table -between the mobile made of old silver spoons and the vintage egg cups- is the big kitchen clock that reminds me how long I’ve got until the next meal time or the next school run.

This is probably the most important thing in the room because it shouts: WRITE. YOU’VE ONLY GOT AN HOUR, SO WRITE NOW.

Catherine Simpson

Catherine Simpson was born and raised on a dairy farm in Lancashire. She moved to Scotland over twenty years ago and now lives in Penicuik. She is now completing her second novel Truestory and is developing a creative non-fiction project on one of her favourite subjects: death. Catherine received a New Writers Award 2012/13.