ROOM TO DO CARTWHEELS

I’m reading Carolyn See’s book  “Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers.”  She talks about the importance of protecting your desire to write by not indiscriminately pouring your heart out about your creative yearnings to anyone who happens along. Hemingway believed that  ‘to talk about your work is to give it away, weaken it, to take away it’s magic and strength.’ Gertrude Stein– upset when her work wasn’t received as expected– stated: “Very well. I will write for myself, and for strangers.” And Jane Austen, who scribbled stories in the drawing room, kept a piece of needlepoint handy to cover it up if someone blundered into the room.

Writers need privacy and a room of their own: a safe place to dream and let ideas unspool in their full glory, unhindered by narrowed eyes or raised brows.  Recently BACHELORS DEGREE ONLINE posted THE 20 MOST AWE-INSPIRING WRITERS’ ROOMS complete with pictures of each hide-away.  George Bernard Shaw created in a writing hut, Virginia Woolf wrote in the rural cottage Monks’ House, Mark Twain in a gazebo, and Edith Wharton a bedroom at The Mount.  One of my favourite spots is the corner room on the second floor of the Villa Madonna, a retreat center run by the Sisters of Charity. There is a foot-high statue of the Virgin outside the door, nicked and faded; yet comforting when I recall stories of ghosts haunting the former nunnery. A breeze hinting coolly of the distant river gusts through the open window that overlooks an ancient pine with branches raised in supplication. Writers need enough space to let the wild child within (as author, Natalie Goldberg, labels it)  do cartwheels and make an awesome rip-roaring mess.

“Roads Unravelling is a winding highway of quiet, still surfaces and yawning depths. Patrolling the flow are gape-jawed monsters and small glimmering pearls of real beauty.” The New Brunswick Reader

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