Where I Write: Langside Library

Malachy Tallack
Category: Writing

This image is the place where I do not write. It is the place where I intended to write, but found I could not.

I moved into this flat in Glasgow’s Southside three months ago, and immediately set about creating a space in the corner of my bedroom where I could work. The large, curved desk with shelves above is ostensibly perfect; everything I need is close at hand. On the lower shelf are books and notebooks directly related to my current project. They are visible and easy to reach. Above them is a more muddled assortment: books I have read recently; books I intend to read soon; books that I ought to read but probably never will. Stuck to the lower shelf are scraps of paper with notes and ideas that may or may not be required imminently.

Scattered at all levels are other odds and ends. There are a couple of birthday cards, now two months old; there’s a Peter Doig print that I bought last year but have not yet framed; there’s a photograph of my parents from before I was born; there are pictures and postcards. None of these are essential, of course, but I like to see them and so here they are.

All of this ought to suit me well, but it does not. After a couple of productive weeks spent at this desk just after moving in, I suddenly found myself unable to work (a decline that coincided precisely with the arrival of wireless internet in the flat).

And so I go out.

Around lunchtime each weekday, I walk two minutes down the road to Langside Library, where I settle myself into a chair, spread out books and notebooks, and open my laptop. The library, blissfully, does not have WiFi. Its distractions are limited to a rather grand ceiling and a steady flow of other users, with whom I share the space. On a normal afternoon there will be college students and high school pupils preparing for exams, there are elderly newspaper browsers, plus a few eccentric regulars. The atmosphere, though not silent, is just about ideal for me to work, and the staff are kind enough to just let me get on with it.

Here is where I write.

Malachy Tallack

Malachy Tallack is a writer, editor and singer-songwriter from Shetland. He has written for the Guardian, the New Statesman, Caught By the River and many other publications. He is currently working on a book about the sixtieth parallel, exploring the relationship between people and place. Malachy received a 2014 New Writers Award for Narrative Non-Fiction.