Surround Yourself with Your World

So I was recently cruising the intarwebs and stumbled across the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, "Bespoke and Everyday Items for the Living, Dead, and Undead" (via The Daily What)

This is the awesomest thing evar.

Dude, check it. The shelves are lined with giant wrenches called "neck bolt tighteners," the payment sign states it won't take beans (magic or otherwise) for payment, and there's every kind of canned fear imaginable, from tinned "escalating panic" to "a vague sense of unease."

This store is perfect to every last detail. Personally, my favorite is the jars of "Organ Marmalade" (*snerk* Get it? Get it?)

But the very very best part of all this? The Monster Supply store actually houses a writing center for kids. Behind the awesome displays is a cleverly hidden classroom station:

Because, while you can certainly grab a jar of "Thickest Human Snot" on your way in, this building isn't actually a Monster Supply Store: it's the British Ministry of Stories, an area created specifically to help young authors grow in their craft.

The Ministry of Stories was designed in collaboration with We Made This, and according to their site:

The Ministry has already hosted a series of workshops with local children, all of whom seem to have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. And the press, including BBC NewsThe Today Programme, and The Guardian, have naturally enough, taken a fair interest.

You can also visit the official site of the MoS here.

All of this got me thinking about space and inspiration. I fully believe what we surround ourselves with influences what and how we write. I recently posted on my own blog about how, despite the fact that I was working on a huge deadline, I had to clean the entire house. Once I had my house in order, I could order my brain and get my ideas on paper.

But, of course, it's more than that. All my life I've been fascinated with stars and astronomy. Moons and stars decorate my sheets and towels. When I was in high school, I created an astronomically correct mural of the constellations on my ceiling using glow-in-the-dark stars. I have more star related jewelry than anything else. I use a planetarium as a nightlight. It's not that far of a stretch that I write a science fiction novel where I can make my characters fly through the stars.

You can look at the Ministry of Stories and know immediately what kind of awesome adventures some of those kids will be writing about. Take a look at my star charts and you can see what kind of stories I write.

So look around yourself: What does your space say about your writing? 


JEM said...

That is possibly the coolest thing I've ever seen come from a government. Good find!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Now that rocks! Thanks for finding and sharing. As for my workspace, I've put up huge, wildly colorful pictures of nature--whales, parrots in jungles, underwater scenes, forests. Makes me happy.

Mandy P.S. said...

I'm pretty sure my space says "tortured engineering grad student lives here." I think I like writing fantasy as a reaction to my over scientific life. Writing science fiction feels too much like homework.

lotusgirl said...

Such a clever "store." What could be better than teaching kids to write in a fun, creative environment? I love it. My surroundings say "chaos desperately trying to be controlled." I do like art and a lot of pretty pictures, and most of the time there's music playing.

Jeff Hirsch said...

This is awesome. I assume it's connected to Dave Eggers in some way, right? He has the same kind of thing here in NY and in San Francisco. It's a Pirate supply store in San Fran and a Superhero supply store here. Both have writing schools for kids in back.

Michelle McLean said...

Okay, that is seriously awesome! And I'm the same way with my house. It's frequently untidy, but it can't be really destroyed or I just can't think (which is why I'm not writing today LOL MUST CLEAN HOUSE!) At the very least, my immediate space must be put together. And I love to surround myself with pictures of cool far off places and statues of fairies and princesses in poofy dresses.

Angie Smibert said...

That's a very cool writing program / store, particularly since it's gov sponsored. There's a similar one in NYC called the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. ( The store out front cleverly disguises a non-profit writing center for kids 6-18.

Jazz said...

How wonderful! My space is overflowing with books, collectible figures, and sewing and craft projects. I'm not sure what it says, but I like it.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Um, disorganized scatter-brain? Nerd red-alert? Assortment of oddments and collectible nonsense?

BTW the name Ministry of Stories is brilliance. :)

Julia said...

This is so cool, Beth!

And - I have a hard time writing in a messy house! But, I don't write about 100 year old houses and dogs & cats... hmmm...