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
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