Writers' Rooms: Steven Galloway

Steven Galloway

(c) Galloway

For a long time I had a small office in downtown Vancouver, in the Dominion Building at Cambie and Hastings. There was something very satisfying about getting up in the morning and venturing out into the world, braving a short commute, riding the elevator and sitting at a desk in a room next to lots of other people who were probably hard at work. The sign on my door read “Roy’s Poodles, Poodle Training and Poodle Related Services” and from time to time I’d advertise a job opening. Once someone from the Government of Canada’s Human Resources division put their card under the door in response to a posting for a fully accredited canine acupuncturist. Good times.

I now live in New Westminster and have become too lazy and misanthropic to leave the house to work. In service of this I’ve built a small shed in the back corner of the yard, which I am currently turning into an office. It turns out I’m not nearly as competent or efficient a carpenter as I’d thought myself. But at the end of this surprisingly expensive, labour intensive and, frankly, emasculating project I’ll have 96 square feet of office bliss. The large piece of wood you can see in the photo hides a Murphy bed—naps are important. I like to make odd outlines and charts, and I also tend to pin up various photographs and maps and scraps of paper, so one whole wall will be cork board and another will be covered in acrylic plexiglass to make a sort of dry erase board system. Shelves for books, a nice big table for writing on, a comfortable chair and presto! My next book should pretty much write itself, provided I can finish the wiring without electrocuting myself.

Steven Galloway is the author of three novels: Finnie Walsh, Ascension and, most recently, The Cellist of Sarajevo. His work has been translated into over twenty languages and optioned for film. He is currently the Cliff Writer in Residence at the UBC Creative Writing Program and a mentor at The Writers Studio at SFU. He lives with his wife and two young daughters in New Westminster, British Columbia.