Saturday, 15 October 2011
How do you write? Any weird habits? A favourite position (ooo, er missus)? Do you need complete silence, or do you rock out to Black Sabbath? Or can’t you even think about it until you have 3 coffees, melba toast and a wee dod of caviar? (Aye, right.)
Truman Capote, who arguably wrote the best true crime “novel” ever, couldn’t write unless he was lying down, in bed or on a couch with a cigarette and a coffee. As the day progressed he moved from coffee to mint tea to martinis. As he described it, he had to be puffing and sipping.
Hemingway used to write 500 words every morning, to avoid the heat. Living in Scotland, I SO don’t have that problem. He is quoted as saying he wrote one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit and that he aimed to put the shit in the wastebasket. I’m thinking the toilet would have been preferable.
Nabokov wrote his novels on index cards – they would then be paper-clipped together and stored in wee boxes. In the Paris Review he said he liked lined Bristol cards and well-sharpened, not too hard, pencils capped with erasers. We call erasers rubbers in these here parts. Which could cause all kinds of confusion and does cause all kinds of sniggering in classrooms around the country.
Thomas Clayton Wolfe, the early 20th century novelist (no, I’ve never heard of him either) was so tall he used to write leaning over a refrigerator.
Ben Franklin liked to write in the bath.
Voltaire used to place his parchment on the back of his naked lover.
John Cheever only had one suit, so he would go to his writing space, hang his suit up and write in his boxers.
So go on, fess up – when your (creative) juices start flowing what weird habits do you have?