I can’t write when you’re in the room.

 

Natalie, a novelist we met in Athens, told us that she can’t write with her husband in the room.  She is writing in Athens, her husband is in Bulgaria.  In separate countries, separated by skies, land and waters, they both write, but when they meet?  Too much electricity, movement, the inversion of air/water/clouds makes rain/evaporation/moisture/thunderclouds.  She cannot write.

I like this idea of the presence of another stopping you from writing.  Writing is a creative act, one that’s hard to do at a party, while drunk, while waking or falling asleep.  Percival Everett can write with his kids in the room.  When my daughter was small, I could write, but once her brother arrived, I couldn’t write with the two of them creating a havoc of energy.  Even now, I can’t write when one of them is in the room because they pull my attention, but oddly, I can write when my husband is in the room as long as we are both writing.  Even now, I see him at the other end of the table.  He is deep in thought on the other side of the bougainvillea vase with his laptop, note cards and ten pens and pencils.

 

In all the books on writing, they talk about the many distractions.  Brenda Ueland talks about the distraction of cleaning the house.  I used to laugh about that, but in fact, if the house is a wreck, I tend to clean it up before I write.  Ron Carlson talks about the need to go get coffee or a snack when you should be finishing that chapter.  Do you want to eat or do you want to write?

 

You might think you can write day and night, but sometime, you will have to stop and eat.  Gamers eat chips and gulp down soda while playing.  Young writers might slurp down their Ramen noodles, the breakfast of champions, but writers like us stick to cheese and dried fruit.  On the ferry to Patmos, we tried to remember what we ate in the little house night after night as we wrote away on our manuscripts.  Beyond Greek salads, we couldn’t recall.  That’s a good day writing day.  You wrote well and everything else was hard to remember.

 

 

 

Natalie, a novelist we met in Athens, told us that she can’t write with her husband in the room.  She is writing in Athens, her husband is in Bulgaria.  In separate countries, separated by skies, land and waters, they both write, but when they meet?  Too much electricity, movement, the inversion of air/water/clouds makes rain/evaporation/moisture/thunderclouds.  She cannot write.  I like this idea of the presence of another stopping you from writing.  Writing is a creative act, one that’s hard to do at a party, while drunk, while waking or falling asleep.  Percival Everett can write with his kids in the room.  When my daughter was small, I could write, but once her brother arrived, I couldn’t write with the two of them creating a havoc of energy.  Even now, I can’t write when one of them is in the room because they pull my attention, but oddly, I can write when my husband is in the room as long as we are both writing.  Even now, I see him at the other end of the table.  He is deep in thought on the other side of the bougainvillea vase with his laptop, note cards and ten pens and pencils.

 

In all the books on writing, they talk about the many distractions.  Brenda Ueland talks about the distraction of cleaning the house.  I used to laugh about that, but in fact, if the house is a wreck, I tend to clean it up before I write.  Ron Carlson talks about the need to go get coffee or a snack when you should be finishing that chapter.  Do you want to eat or do you want to write?

 

You might think you can write day and night, but sometime, you will have to stop and eat.  Gamers eat chips and gulp down soda while playing.  Young writers might slurp down their Ramen noodles, the breakfast of champions, but writers like us stick to cheese and dried fruit.  On the ferry to Patmos, we tried to remember what we ate in the little house night after night as we wrote away on our manuscripts.  Beyond Greek salads, we couldn’t recall.  That’s a good day writing day.  You wrote well and everything else was hard to remember.

 

 

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Published in: on May 23, 2016 at 11:40 am  Leave a Comment  

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