January 14, 2009
How write right she is (I seriously typed write– I must be tired). I’m talking about Annie Dillard. In her book, The Writer’s Life, she explains in yet another great vignette about a writer’s life and a writer’s space.
Funny– on her website she calls the book: an embarrassing nonfiction narrative fixed somewhat and republished by Harper Perrenial 1998. I wonder what she fixed?
Anyway, here’s what she has to say:
The materiality of a writer’s life cannot be exagerated. If you like metaphysics, throw pots. How fondly I recall thinking, in the old days, that to write you need paper, pen, and a lap. How appalled I was to discover that, in order to write so much as a sonnet, you need a warehouse. You can easily get so confused writing a thirty-page chapter that in order to make an outline for the second draft, you have to rent a hall. I have often “written” with the mechanical aid of a twenty-foot conference table. You lay your pages along the table’s edge and pace out the work. You walk along in rows; you weed bits, move bits, and dig out bits, bent over the rows with full hands like a gardener. After a couple of hours, you have taken an exeedingly dull nine-mile hike. You go home and soak your feet.
**The office space/suite i’m renting to write in… my ‘office, ‘ as I like to refer to it (and as my friends–you know who you are– like to tease me by putting their fingers in the air and doing the little ‘quote’ sign when they say the word office), is tiny tiny tiny. I have one table, one floor lamp, one book shelf, a corkboard on the wall, and about 8 feet by 5 feet with which to work with. (in which to work in?). But I love it. So far anyway. Even if I only write a page (i’ve had a few days of that what with teaching having begun) I feel that still it’s my space. And a story and characters are being created there.
Even so, I wish I had a hallway or a twenty foot conference table to lay out my stuff (and have I got a lot of stuff to lay out!).
Oh, and here’s a postcard that I put up in my office recently.
Does anyone know the artist or info about the picture?
I love the look on the dog’s face–that he’s been caught at the bathroom vanity.