‘No problem,’ I said, when I was asked to write about five treasured possessions. I was convinced I would be spoiled for choice, that I would have to somehow decide between dozens of objects I couldn’t possibly live without. In reality, looking around my house, there are very few. There are lots of possessions I enjoy and value (and for which I’m very grateful), but not many I consider to be essential to happiness. However, there are some which definitely make my existence easier (and some which are more of a bookmark in my life).
Lumie Light: My Lumie Light probably takes first place in the ‘making my existence easier’ category. Since medical school, I have always set my alarm for an ungodly hour (usually 3am), because it’s the only time my head is empty enough to write, and also the only chance I have to walk my dog in peace. Since I graduated, my timetable is less hectic, but I still get up at 3am and the Lumie Light (with its gradual, artificial dawn), means I usually wake naturally, and not to the almighty shock of bells and buzzers, and flashing lights.
A Pint Mug of Tea: I am generally propelled by tea and adrenaline, and I’ve spent years searching for the perfect mug. I finally found it in this one, and I’m so obsessed, I have two back-ups. I only wish I was kidding.
My Stethoscope: a stethoscope isn’t often required in psychiatry, but this one has seen me, not only through medical school, but also foundation year training and most of my specialty jobs. We have had some moments together over the years and although I could always replace it, I’m a touch sentimental, because it reminds me of the goals I’ve achieved and the obstacles I’ve overcome.
The Trouble With Goats and Sheep: I was lucky enough to visit Clays in Norfolk, to see my novel being printed, and this copy was first off the press. It’s travelled around the UK with me, to many events and festivals, and branches of Waterstones (hence being slightly worse for wear!), and for a story I didn’t expect would ever escape from my laptop, my heart trips over itself every time I see it.
Goat Necklace: The wonderful team at HarperCollins gave me this goat necklace on the day my book was published. It’s an incredible privilege to work with such a brilliant group of people, and it was a really thoughtful and totally unexpected gift. If I’m doing an event, you can generally spot it around my neck. Us goats have to stick together.
Joanna Cannon's debut novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is published by The Borough Press.