Thursday, June 16, 2016

Where Writers Write: Toni Davidson

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!


Where Writers Write is a series that features authors as they showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 

This is Toni Davidson.

Toni was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. His novel Scar Culture (Canongate, 1999), has been translated into nine languages. His short story collection, The Gradual Gathering of Lust, was published in 2008. In 2012 his second novel My Gun Was As Tall As Me, was published by Freight Books. His most recent novel, The Alpine Casanovas, also published by Freight and launched at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, in August 2015. For more visit his website: And find him on Twitter @silemrenk

Where Toni Davidson Writes

Writing Locations for The Alpine Casanovas


Of course the ideal location.Yet, I am a laptop person who rests his machine on a desk top. It gives a sense of fixed abode, a familiar location to write that has been borne out by previous experience. Lovely, bamboo desk. Not my just my own experience of course. Writers through the ages have written on desks made of the finest rosewood, composed on hulks of eviscerated oak.Whether you write with pen or quill or Biro or Bic then the surface underneath can make all the difference. If you tap tap on a keyboard, the solidity is reassuring; your little lap machine has backup - in my case solid bamboo circa 2010 Saigon, made to measure for the price of a Western shoe. But the lap is the new desk? Or is it the palm or the delicate, arthritic-baiting hand grip that counts here? Wherever you lay your hat is your new home; wherever you use your finger is the new office environment.

Coffee Shop

The coffee shop for each novel but especially My Gun Was As Tall As Me and The Alpine Casanovas was a thing. For Gun it was the balmy heat of Saigon; café sua da, the sweet hit of condensed milk, iced to the rim, the lagoon of jet black coffee lingering around the cubes. The frantic Ho Chi Minh traffic could be a distraction and locations with views can be disadvantageous as you are lured away from your precious written word. But I have moved on from dogme: it used to be that I had to be in a windowless room, boxed, secured against thinking about anything else, seeing anything else apart from my own procrastination cracking the plaster on the wall. I know, I was young. It’s okay now. I have come to terms with distraction as a necessary part of concentration.

Waiting Room

This one is a little more left field. Sorry. On the face of it, to write while in a waiting room as one pauses creatively en route at a station or airport is entirely understandable for the must-write-somehow, somewhere writer. You gotta write when you gotta write. But to choose such a location over Desk or Coffee Shop. What? You’ve got people munching through sandwiches not caring that their sprigs of lettuce are falling on their shoes; or drunks or the drugged are passing cigarettes between each other like contraband. Or just noisy, NOISY, as people come and go like they have a train to catch. But I like the pull it presents, the challenge. You really want to write this? COME  ON.Then you will. If the voice in your head is trying to get you to write something that moves your soul, explains the whole fucking world then it doesn’t matter that someone is trying to talk to you like you are their new best friend. 

While My Daughter Gently Sleeps

Location is place where everyone else is asleep. It became that simple. The Alpine Casanovas was started when my daughter was barely a year old and finished when she turned three. She was integral to my writing process in a way that was essential, but was also beautiful. She prioritised writing for me, downgraded it from an obsession to a crucial undertaking.Writing has its own, unique energy, fuelled by story and character, buffed by imagination and experience. Later at night when everyone was finally asleep, I was restored into writing mode by the muffled quiet of our apartment. 

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