“If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write.” ~ Norman Mailer
Writing is a solitary thing. They don’t call it mental masturbation for nothing.
That said, WHERE you write, is about as important as how often you do it. (okay, I am so going to get popped for all the sexual references, but, hey, that’s how I roll)
Back to the subject.
Writing now, is much easier than, oh say, three hundred years ago, when you had to worry about lighting and paper supply, even ink. Writing in your nightie at midnight with a candle burning might be a heck of a lot more dangerous than today’s pajama clad writers propping their bunny slippers up on the IKEA desk and slapping away at the Mac. Sure, we still have censorship of a sort and our own egos to contend with, but sometimes just the right amount of scotch makes both of those easier to swallow- yes, pun intended.
There are two reasons I was thinking about the WHERE of the writer’s job.
- In a purely selfish way, I want the WHERE of my favorite authors to be like mine, so I can say, “See, Alice Hoffman likes oceanfront cottages with wrap around porches and cabana boys, too.”
- I want writers to show me WHERE the magic happens. ( I am a closet Peeping Tom, and my that I don’t mean I like to peek in your closet… oh, you know what I mean)
With the approaching retreat in Santa Rosa Beach with Write by the Water, and the November NaNoWriMo, writers need to be planning their escape into fake little worlds where we are the good guy, the bad guy, the happy girl, the bitch, the chick you want to hang out with, the dude you want to drive a steam roller over… worlds where we pull strings, dig holes, open doors and snap our fingers to change it all. Possibilities are endless when you’re switched on.
Here are some places where fellow writers escape reality and create.
Poet Amy Groshek works at the dining room table of her one-bedroom apartment in Madison, Wisconsin. She uses the typewriter for drafting her poems, avoiding the potential distractions of the computer during early stages of writing.
“The scraps of paper on the wall are favorite poems that I have memorized or am in the process of memorizing,” Groshek says.
Poet Carmen Iriondo of Buenos Aires, Argentina, chose her writing space, originally her home’s dining room, “for its silence and view: plants and trees in spite of its urban location.”
“The painting behind me is the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires by Romulo Macció, a known artist and a personal friend,” says Iriondo. “As an ex–ballet dancer, that theatre represents for me a mix of creation, beauty, difficulty, mischief, sweat, and well being, and brings me good memories of my childhood.”
“The desk on which I write and read and work and think was made by a carpenter who agreed to all my demands: size, drawers, height, and above all, color and texture of the wood,” Iriondo adds. “The wood also smells great. It’s my favorite object.”
Nonfiction writer Jenifer Joy Madden (left) and fiction writer Caron Martinez (right), both of Vienna, Virginia, enjoy a DIY retreat, complete with meals cooked by their teenage sons, at Madden’s home-away-from-home on Hutchinson Island, Florida. “The screened-in porch allows uninterrupted comfort,” says Madden of her writing spot overlooking the Indian River. “The heavenly June breeze created a lovely background noise of lapping water and rustling palms.”
I understand that sentiment. Perhaps you also need a quiet place with a view of water, a place where you are fed with imagery, yet offered a solitary place to bring your words to the page…Join us at any of our four retreats a year, and Write by the Water.