Wednesday, March 3, 2010

That Woman Who Writes

I’m always seeking places to write. Never at home—laundry piles, dishes in the sink, MOM emblazoned on my forehead. Although problematic, coffeehouses and libraries are a mainstay. Inevitably, I’ll be thick into my work when someone I know will come up behind me, “Hey, hi! What’cha doin’?” Depending on a combination of fluctuating circumstances—a scale that includes politeness, how the writing is coming, and how well I know the person—my reaction will be to glare until I’m left alone, drop everything and chat, or, more likely, a response somewhere in between the continuum of these two extremes.

For a while, I used a private conference room at my local library, partitioned like an office. The conference room’s intended purpose was for gatherings—conferences—and I was politely asked to stop, even when it wasn’t signed out, and just sat there, vacant, begging to be used. Apparently, the various voices in my head do not constitute a group.

I’m a nervous writer. I drink coffee and subsequently get thirsty and drink water. I chew gum—packs and packs, studding the wastebasket with my spit-out wads. I read my work out loud, again and again (I imagine one might hear a light mumble coming from my direction). There are frequent trips to the bathroom (coffee and water). I have to haul my writing materials—computer, notebooks, etc.—with me, so that they won’t get stolen. Or else I take on the Bathroom Sprint—going as fast as I can, returning in a light sweat.

- Victoria Patterson, The Millions

Read the rest of the essay here.

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