23 February 2009

The Desk Set

We published Paul Headrick's first novel, That Tune Clutches My Heart, last fall. This week, we asked Paul to show us his desk and what he was working on.

I’m currently writing a novel set in a dreary Vancouver January. In ordinary circumstances I would be conveniently positioned to imbue the narrative with the telling details that give scenes strength and win belief. I would only need to glance out my window and describe what I see to get a perfectly accurate representation of a particular kind of drizzle, or of the particular colour of the North Shore mountains in the afternoon with a high overcast and a feeble sun setting.

My circumstances, however, are not quite ordinary for me, at the moment. I’m in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for a two-month writing sojourn with my wife, Heather Burt. In the mornings I set up a small desk on our terrace, which is gracefully lined with blooming potted plants that attract a fine variety of hummingbirds. Through the day I shift my desk about to stay in the shade. It’s a challenge to enter the noirish mood of my narrative as the day grows warm and I sip on iced tea, and I hear in the distance the sounds of a mariachi band playing in the town square. The photo shows me at my desk, wearing my new Panama hat, which makes me feel like a minor character in a Graham Greene novel, perhaps one of those whose willful naiveté shades into evil. My expression suggests that I’ve hit my minimum five hundred words for the day and I’m contemplating moving from iced tea to tequila.

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