The Woodshop is a feature examining the work spaces and habits of writers both big and small. Joan Didion spent the night in the same room as her work when it was almost finished. Don DeLillo kept a picture of Borges close by. When, and how, do you work? Our latest contributor is Kate Barrett, CutBank's Online Managing Editor.
Q. Where do you do your work?
A. I work in a lot of different places--there are two or three coffee shops around town I like, and honestly I write quite a bit at my day job in an office (don't tell them)--but my favorite spot is my desk at home. That's the picture here. It's out in a common area of my house, so often there are people cooking in the kitchen, hanging out, listening to music, so if it gets too chaotic sometimes I'll have to leave. Otherwise, it's the spot I prefer. Plus, sometimes that chaos is nice--it gives things a nice energy.
Q. What do you keep on your desk?
A. Plants! As you can see. I call them my traveling plants. I've gathered them from various places I've lived, and most of them rode with me on the drive from Denver to Missoula when I moved. I write a lot about the natural world and it's nice to keep a bit of living breathing greenery close at hand. Plus, if I'm stumped on a scene or can't think of the right word, I pick at the dead leaves and stuff. It's good for thought...or something like that.
Q. What's your view like?
A. Not that great, but the sunlight in the afternoon is divine! The view itself looks into our side yard and our neighbor's window.
Q. What do you eat/drink while you work?
A. Oh man, anything and everything that's within grabbing distance. I'm like a plague of locusts when I write. I have to clear the area of all snacks before I sit down or else I'd get nothing done--eating is my number one procrastination method. Sometimes I drink coffee, but only if I really need the boost.
Q. Share a recent line or sentence written in this space:
A. Forget cigarettes. Forget eggs.
About the Author:
Kate Barrett is a fiction writer from Denver, Colorado. Her skills include but are not limited to: adventure walking, applying heat to vegetables and calling it cooking, dog ogling, and the awesome power of at-will napping. Her writing interests generally tend toward places no one seems to like, such as Wyoming and small towns in the Midwest. Kate is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Montana.
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