Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fantasies of the Writing Life

I've always had fantasies about creating a life for myself where I would best thrive and grow as a writer.

Sometimes the fantasies have involved renting out a room in an old-fashioned farmhouse, as Judy does in Daddy Long-Legs. I'd be far away from the bustle and toil of the city, writing away at my big wooden desk facing out the open window to the rolling fields; sometimes the farmer's wife would call upstairs to let me know that she was taking fresh-baked pies out of the oven, and I'd skip downstairs to have a thick wedge of applie pie, together with a glass of her foamy new milk just brought in from Bossy the cow.

Sometimes the fantasies have involved spending time at a writers' colony, like the famed McDowell Colony in New Hampshire. Oh, to live in my own little rustic cabin, where lunch is brought to me every day in a covered basket and left outside my door, as if by unseen elves! (I don't know if the McDowell Colony is the one that leaves the little lunch basket, but one of the famous writers' colonies does). I'd write all day, and then, at dinner, all the writers, and artists and musicians and filmmakers, would gather for dinner: wine, and fine food, and witty, erudite conversation.

My latest fantasy, which I've been nursing ever since Christopher's 21st birthday bash in New York City, involves my own teensy-weensy studio apartment either in Brooklyn or on the upper Upper West Side (Broadway above 100th). In New York, every other apartment has a writer in it, and the other one has an actor, and we'd all be feeling the pulse of a city fueled by creativity and fulfilled and unfulfilled dreams. I'd go to readings at the 92nd Street Y. I'd hang out with children's book lovers at the Bank Street College of Education. I would write my masterpiece!

Last night I went to see the Fairview High School production of the musical 42nd Street, and this did NOT lessen the pull of this fantasy! Wouldn't I be a better writer if I fell asleep every night listening to the "lullabye of Broadway"?

But maybe some other writer somewhere has the fantasy of the small house in Boulder, Colorado, right up against the Rocky Mountains, where she gets up early to write for an hour before her family awakes, and then wanders in to the University of Colorado, where she teaches a couple of classes in the philosophy department, and then in the late afternoon goes for a long walk on the glorious trails up the mountain canyons. . .


  1. I guess you likely have read Brenda Ueland's "If You Want to Write." She addresses this feeling that if only a person had the farmhouse or the uninterrupted hours or the maid or the money, etc. and etc., then the writing would flow and they'd be able to create...I agree it would be wonderful, but for most of us, it won't happen, so I ask myself "what version" of it can I actually achieve? So far, not too much, but I have hope!

    Enjoying your blog; just happened upon it today!

  2. I adore Brenda Ueland! And you're right, she thinks that all of this needing to have just the right conditions exquisitely arranged before we can write is just so much "fear and conceit"!

  3. It may not be ideal, but writing my novel at the Beach Club Villas at Walt Disney World while my husband naps in the next room is pretty perfect for me.