Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Authors Workspaces

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” - E.B. White

Frequently my ‘writing nook’ looks as though I left the window open during high winds. Papers are strewn around the desk top and the floor. Open books are scattered about. There are little yellow notes curled up in various places. (I keep these notes even though deciphering can be a challenge as they often appear to be written in a foreign tongue and alphabet.) This writing area is also my grandson’s playroom so there are train tracks, children’s books, and a toy piano along one wall. When out of town visitors arrive, the Murphy bed comes down, the clutter and the toys disappear and it magically turns into a guest bedroom. Yet, with all its uses and for whatever reasons, this nook is where I feel most comfortable writing.

When I ran across the article Famous Authors and Their Workspaces Come Together in a Mural in The New York Times, I had to take a look. The mural was painted by artist Elena Climent at New York University and is called, At Home With Their Books. The workspaces are those of Washington Irving, Edith Wharton, Zora Neale Hurston, Frank O’Hara, Jane Jacobs, and Pedro Pietri. The slideshow shows four of the six rooms.

I thought it interesting that Edith Wharton worked from her bedroom and tended to throw papers on the floor.

Then I discovered Writers Rooms in The Guardian, where I found photos and descriptions of the writing spaces of 95 authors. Here you can see where authors such as Virginia Woolf, Rudyard Kipling, Charlotte Bronte, and George Bernard Shaw spent so much of their time.

Of all the authors, only Philip Hensher said he didn’t have a writing room and has never successfully written at a desk.

Also, I particularly liked the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' sign in the room of Sarah Waters.

Do you have a favorite writing area or can you work from anywhere?

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: E.B. White, Climent, Irving, Wharton, Hurston, Woolf, Kipling, Bronte, Shaw,


Anonymous said...

Have laptop will write - anywhere, anytime. However my favorite spot is my unadorned quiet isolated basement cubicle office on my PC.

Nancy J. Parra said...

I like my office- in the chair next to the window with the view.

Nice blog!

Morgan Mandel said...

I have a desk in the dining room, but the dining room isn't usually used for dining anyway. I also use my laptop computer on a TV tray or on the train.

Morgan Mandel

Sharon said...

Quiet is much more important than location. My desk is in the busiest part of the house, but when there are other people there, it doesn't matter where I am because I wouldn't be able to write anyway.

I really enjoyed the post and the slide show of the mural.

Sharon Reece

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world