I am delighted to feature Philip Pullman, author of the brilliant and successful trilogy His Dark Materials, in my article on famous garden rooms. His trilogy has sold 7 million copies in 38 languages and was entirely written in his garden shed. There has also been a sellout stage adaptation at the National Theatre and a three-part movie series written by Sir Tom Stoppard and produced by the film company that made the adaptations of The Lord of the Rings.
The popularity of his books proves that there are many children out there who like to be intellectually challenged in their reading, and that nothing succeeds like a book recommended by your children.
For me, with a 12 year old boy in the house, Pullman’s books just keep resurfacing. I have read them 3 times through myself and found new layers and connections each time. I particularly enjoy how he weaves through methods of dealing with threats, challenges and complex relationships using his main character Lyra. It is as though he wants to lead his young readers towards maturity rather than into childhood escapism. Pullman’s imagination is as sparkly as his vocabulary is wide and varied. My son loves science especially the vast mysteries of physics and Pullman’s writings incorporate that elemental wonder. He explores the themes of quantum physics, through his fictional parallel Oxford, in which phenomena appear to exist in a state of unrealised potential and parallels.
At home in suburban Oxford, Pullman lived with his wife and two sons, one of whom was learning the violin. Between 1993 and 2000, Pullman escaped the familiar sounds of music practice by retreating to his garden shed where he wrote his legendary trilogy. “His playing was fine, but I need to hear the rhythm of my next sentence in my head before I write it”, he explains.
What an inspirational, intense space that shed must have been. Creative thought certainly seems to be induced and its expression encouraged in the solitude and detachment of the garden room. I’m convinced that there are more lyricists, cartoonists, poets, authors, illustrators and melody makers working fervently in the peace of their own garden rooms than we are currently aware of. Surely that creative space can have an advantageous transfer into business?
Development and achieving industry excellence takes intelligent, creative thinking. Consider brand building, image creation, new and innovative marketing strategies. Many of the brightest ideas are conceived during own-time relaxation. Ideally, that creative space would be available whenever the idea first lights up. Just a short carbon-neutral stroll, down the garden path, and that idea could really flourish in the environment of the garden room.