The Sweet Small Space

quote-if-there-s-a-book-you-really-want-to-read-but-it-hasn-t-been-written-yet-then-you-must-write-it-toni-morrison-131249Hello writers, this is Adair Heitmann penning my post to you today. As you’ve seen from my previous blogs many of my posts are about the actual act of writing. As a working mother, writing has to fit into segmented blocks of time. I’m always open for inspiration on how others do it. Recently I found encouragement in a 21-year-old online issue of The Paris Review, Fall 1993, Interviews Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction No. 134. Don’t ask me how this crossed my desk at work, but it really did.

For those who don’t know her work, Toni Morrison is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon and Beloved. She also was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature, a Pulitzer Prize, and received a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Ms. Morrison was interviewed by Elissa Schappell, with additional material from Claudia Brodsky Lacour. The following is the excerpt I want to share with you. The entire interview can be enjoyed later at your leisure.

Morrison was asked about her writing routine:

“I have an ideal writing routine that I’ve never experienced, which is to have, say, nine uninterrupted days when I wouldn’t have to leave the house or take phone calls. And to have the space—a space where I have huge tables. I end up with this much space [she indicates a small square spot on her desk] everywhere I am, and I can’t beat my way out of it. I am reminded of that tiny desk that Emily Dickinson wrote on and I chuckle when I think, Sweet thing, there she was. But that is all any of us have: just this small space and no matter what the filing system or how often you clear it out—life, documents, letters, requests, invitations, invoices just keep going back in. I am not able to write regularly. I have never been able to do that—mostly because I have always had a nine-to-five job. I had to write either in between those hours, hurriedly, or spend a lot of weekend and predawn time.”

What I love about this quote is that she described an ideal writing experience that she doesn’t have, it made her real to me. I didn’t feel so alone with my piles of life surrounding my keyboard.

To savor the entire interview click on the following link The Paris Review, Fall 1993.

Until next time, keep on writing!

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Published in: on October 8, 2014 at 2:20 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. As I ponder the papers I want to sort, looking for the picture of the haircut I want that I know is somewhere, and then look at the photos that need to get stored, I pause to read email. Thanks for your post. So true.


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