I’m glad I did this. Twenty desks. Three continents. Several notebooks. One laptop. Many sheets of paper. Over the past year or so, I took a photo of every desk I wrote my book on. I started writing on 13 September, 2012 at desk no. 1: our dining room table in Kigali and what constituted the Reuters bureau in Rwanda at the time.
I continued there until the summer of 2013, when I moved to desk no. 2 – our dining room table, at home in south-west France.
As we don’t have Internet access at home, I would occasionally use desk no. 3 at Soho Solo offices in the town of Lombez.
We moved to Dakar, Senegal at the end of August, 2013 and I re-convened in a temporary flat on desk no. 4 – in the bedroom.
However, I mostly worked on desk no. 5 – the dining room table – in the same flat.
While sometimes popping out for Jasmine tea at Time’s Cafe and desk no. 6 in downtown Dakar.
In late September, 2013 I travelled back to Việt Nam. I did some writing at desk no. 7 on the Emirates flight from Dubai to Sài Gòn.
Upon the recommendation of a friend, I based myself in Room 401, VietFace Hotel in Hà Nội. That was desk no. 8.
I wrote at a lot of stalls. Here’s one. Desk no. 9, a favourite tea stall of mine on Lê Văn Hưu street in Hà Nội
I headed south and found myself at desk no. 10 in Room 306, Minh Chau Hotel in Sài Gòn’ District 10.
In truth, there were many Desk no. 11s in Sài Gòn. This one in particular was one I knew well.
A month later, I was back in Dakar. Working on paper. Mostly at home, but sometimes at desk no. 12 – in the reception at King Fahd Hotel in the north of Dakar.
I continued working in Dakar, until January, 2014 when I travelled to the UK for work. By this time I had moved to working entirely on the computer. I edited through two lunchtimes at desk no. 13 in the newsroom at BBC Radio Nottingham.
And, into the night at desk no. 14 in the Jurys Inn Hotel, Room 323. Nottingham.
I continued on trains. Desk no. 15 on the Nottingham to Edinburgh East Coast train
And another. Desk no. 16: Birmingham New Street to Cambridge train
And one more. Desk no. 17: Ipswich to London train
The trip ended with one last blast at desk no. 18: Room 10, St. Simeon Hotel, Gloucester Road, London.
Back on it, during the Iberia flight from Madrid to Dakar, at Desk no. 19
Then, in our new abode in Dakar at Desk no. 20.
And… finally… 90,000 or so words are almost, very nearly, but not quite, edited, done, dusted and soon to be sent to the agent, editor and publisher. Nearly there.
ONWARDS TO VICTORY