The Woodshop peeks into the workspaces and habits of writers of all stripes and styles. Stephen King advises us to “put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room. Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around.” 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, where, and how, do you work?
This glimpse into the writer’s life comes courtesy of Jody Kennedy.
Where do you do your work?
A: I work pretty much exclusively in my bedroom, leaning against pillows in bed with the computer on my lap. When my kids are in school I sometimes end up on the couch in the living room. I've never been able to do any serious writing in coffee shops or libraries though park benches, empty churches, and out of the way beaches are another story. There's quite a bit of sorting out that happens on my daily walks, too.
What do you keep on your desk?
A: I owned a desk once when I was a kid but never used it. I'm not a desk person by nature. There's something about the physical contact with the notebook or computer on my lap that makes for a more visceral writing experience. I expect it's something like a sculptor working with clay, no gloves, only sculpting tools and bare hands. So to answer the question, I don't have a desk but I do have a bedside table with a small lamp, pens, a flashlight and scrap paper (when ideas for a project I'm working on show up as I'm falling asleep or in the middle of the night), an icon of the Virgin Mary, and a bowl of seashells collected from Sanibel Island, Florida (also home to one of the best public libraries). On the floor next to the bed, you'll find a stack of current and to read books along with my notebook.
What's your view like?
A: A row of tall, beautiful Cypress trees which (thankfully) block the view of the neighboring apartment building.
What do you eat/drink while you work?
A: Chocolate and coffee (when I'm drinking coffee).
Do you have any superstitions about your work?
A: I'm not sure I have any superstitions about my work though I do spend a lot of my writing time staring.
Share a recent line/sentence written in this space.
A: “… having hitherto known only hardship, suddenly sprouted the most glorious wings and peeling away out of our arms, lifted off and left us for more friendly and temperate environs.”
Jody Kennedy is a writer and photographer living in Provence, France. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Electric Literature’s Okey-Panky, Hobart, Rattle, The Georgia Review, among others. More at her website https://jodyskennedy.wordpress.com/
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