“It is by poking about inside current technology that hackers get ideas for the next generation. No thanks, intellectual homeowners may say, we don’t need any outside help. But they’re wrong. The next generation of computer technology has often—perhaps more often than not—been developed by outsiders.” – Paul Graham
Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not going to give you a summary or review or debate about Virginia Woolf’s seminal and polemical essay published in 1929 entitled ‘A Room of One’s Own’. There is a detailed analysis of the book on SparkNotes, but reactions to this proto-feminist essay are usually mixed. When I reread it recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find it much wittier and easy to read than I had remembered, and certainly more accessible than many of her novels.
Anyway, the title of my post today has more to do with that essential element of a writer’s life: the space where they can do the actual writing. I have nothing but admiration for those writers (Jane Austen, for instance) who manage to write in the family room, a constant victim of interruptions and misplaced curiosity. For myself, I completely understand Virginia’s statement:
Just finished some tuna with olives amd cayenne pepper. I guess I swallowed some wrong because I can’t seem to get it out of my throat fully. I keep having to cough every minute or so. Sometimes I wonder about how we’re built or how much we’re built to last. I couldn’t believe the coughing fit at first and sort of looked up at God, I guess. Is this just too much cayenne pepper or is it related to getting older? Not too long after that I kicked over a cup of water and had to move the computer from its spot on the floor. I don’t remember being this clumsy or fragile or forgetful when I was younger. Did I just not notice because I didn’t have aches and pains and hardly a care versus today?
I keep clearing my throat even as we speak. Sure, I could have…
He looked at her, she smiled, and he knew she knew. Slowly he came closer, opened the pad and started reading, in a low voice, in his smooth, disarming accent, the one he used when he really wanted to seduce, to sell, to be adopted: the last paragraph of his novel.
She was listening, still looking at his face as he read, an infinite tenderness on her lips and eyes, his muse, his wife, his soulmate, his partner. He paused, and she asked: “so you have finished?” “Yes”, he answered, a few tears running down his face, “it’s done, and I love you more since it is our story”. She loved his tears.
I remember… way back when I was in my senior seminar class for sociology, well we had to write so freakin’ much. And for the entire last semester of my last year of undergraduate we had to write four papers a week with I think 2500 words a piece, and this was due every friday. We had to write on topics that applied to the books that we were reading, and that meant well pretty close to everything under the universal sun you could write about. I think I wrote about the social masks that we wear, as well as the sociological imagination and social Machiavellian theory that was applied to the everyday social actor. You know things like that, just arm-chair theory to what you thought you knew back then. Many of the papers were in my opinion mind-blowing, but really when I think about it, most people without even a…