I'm surrounded, it turns out, by as many writing tools as possible: laptop, typewriter, notebooks, file cards, pens. I hadn't quite realised this multi-functional obsession. I tend to take notes on notebooks (always the same pens, the same notebooks). Some notes are copied on to file cards. At other times I just write straight on to the laptop - always distracted by my intermittent attention span and the temptations of the internet.
The Olivetti typewriter on the desk was given to me by my girlfriend. I'm still trying to improve my typing to use it properly. Its matching red case is under the table - beside another portable typewriter (black): a Remington from the 1930s, which I bought in a flea market before I'd noticed that neither the W nor the cylinder worked. The original Remington advertising claimed that it was so light a child could carry it. This isn't true.
The day bed isn't a present from my girlfriend: instead, I've appropriated it from her. I used to like marinading on it - a form of thought akin to snoozing - but at the moment it's blocked by the manuscript of a new translation of Victor Hugo's mammoth novel Les Misérables, which I'm writing about. So no snoozing, or thinking. Beside it is a tourist map of Paris, which I'm using to help plot my way out of the miserable pile of paper.
There are two loved books, both presents, on my table: the first British edition, 1947, of Vladimir Nabokov's book on Nikolai Gogol; and the first edition, published in Paris in 1929, of a collection of essays organised by Joyce on Finnegans Wake. They must represent some form of talisman, I suppose, but talismans of what, I don't quite know: my imaginary friends.
There are books all round the room on the floor because we're renting this place for a short while (which also explains the absence of pictures). But I like the improvised bareness. The books form an impromptu skirting board, its literary double. The pewter hip flask, from my sister, is empty.