INTUNE: Sanctuary

I open the glass double doors and step through into what I would call Wonderland; unfortunately, the smell reminds me that this is nowhere near Wonderland. I lift my bags through the open doors. With all my equipment, my notebook, my files and, above all, my milk safely inside, I lock the doors carefully behind me. I try to resist the urge to give the doors an extra unnecessary push, in case it’s the beginning of OCD, but I’m probably in by myself so I push it just to make sure. I’m confident that that can become an obsession if I’m not careful

I climb the stairs. At the top of the stairs I turn right to face another door. The fact that it is locked tells me that no-one else is in today, yet. As I open this door at the top of the stairs, the smell of damp and abandonment fills my nostrils. But whereas this smell initially put me off it now welcomes me like an old friend, well a smelly old friend who hasn’t had a bath recently. As electricity is not included in the rent I resist the urge to turn the lights on, that three-pence h’penny could come in useful someday.

In the dark and fully laden with my notebook, which is as important to me as a defibrillator to a heart attack victim or a syringe of insulin to a diabetic, I walk slowly up the corridor until I reach the only door with a sign that isn’t STAFF ONLY. The sign states proudly SHATTERED KATANA PRODUCTIONS; it could just say WELCOME PETER.

I push the key in the lock and turn. The green glow that greets me makes me smile. The walls painted for the purpose of green-screening emit a green glow when the early morning sun fills the room. The air is fresher here, mainly thanks to my purchase of a cheap air freshener from Home Bargains.

I walk round the central tables and dump my bags on the floor. I make my usual journey to the coffee machine, sitting in anticipation of the important job it must fulfil, providing my morning coffee. It sits on the cupboard that my parents used to use in their bathroom but instead of hand-towels and toilet paper it is now home to my filter papers and, above all else as far as importance is concerned, my coffee, as I don’t smoke and don’t drink coffee is my drug of choice.

I set up the coffee pot and flick the switch to start the most welcome sound of the morning. I smile and walk away giving the coffee machine time and space to do its job.I set up my notebook on the middle table where I do all my writing. The computer flickers into life and so the coffee machine and notebook beep and hum in tandem.

I wander the room, watering my plants. Eventually I take the first cup of coffee and sit at the desks ready to begin the task of writing. I look at the table directly opposite, the table will fulfil a range of duties; it will be the table where DS Somerset will hold his press conferences, it is the table where Charlotte will investigate the Great Smogsville Guitar Mystery.

The table to my right, a brilliant table left by the previous occupants of the room is the table where Jamie will interview roadies.

My gaze continues round the room, to the home-made board that reminds me of the fifteen stages of a screenplay as described by Blake Snyder. I take in the posters for Saint Jude Films and Stockton News 24 and my gaze finishes as the three piece suite recently donated by my in-laws. This area is where Grace will dump Jamie, Mrs Green will chastise Jamie for not having finished his homework and where I rest my head and close my eyes for ten minutes if the mood takes me. Despite what my friends like to think it is definitely NOT a casting couch, honestly the thought never entered my head.

I look around my room, my film studio, my empire, my work place and above all my sanctuary and smile, I feel relaxed and ready to write.

Peter Conlin