A Writer's Space
Field Trip: Notes
Some of my favourite writers in their spaces and their words to accompany them.
Haruki Murakami in his study/listening room. Before finding success as an author, a young Murakami ran a jazz club called "Peter Cat" in Tokyo with his wife. He would write at his kitchen table once he closed down shop late at night. Today, Murakami still always listens to music while working; he has a collection of around 10,000 records to choose from.
“Whether in music or fiction, the most basic thing is rhythm. Your style needs to have good, natural, steady rhythm, or people won’t keep reading your work. I learned the importance of rhythm from music – and mainly from jazz. Next comes melody – which, in literature, means the appropriate arrangement of the words to match the rhythm. If the way the words fit the rhythm is smooth and beautiful, you cant ask for anything more.”
– Haruki Murakami, New York Times (2007)
Joan Didion in her Trancas kitchen in 1972, forever the epitome of California Cool.
“Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it? Why do I keep a notebook at all? It is easy to deceive oneself on all those scores. The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.”
– Joan Didion, On Keeping a Notebook
Director Barbara Anastacio visits Olivia Laing in her home in Cambridge, which she shares with her husband and British poet Ian Patterson.
“If loneliness is to be defined as a desire for intimacy, then included within that is the need to express oneself and to be heard, to share thoughts, experiences and feelings. Intimacy can't exist if the participants aren't willing to make themselves known, to be revealed. But gauging the levels is tricky. Either you don't communicate enough and remain concealed from other people, or you risk rejection by exposing too much altogether: the minor and major hurts, the tedious obsessions, the abscesses and cataracts of need and shame and longing.”
– Olivia Laing, The Lonely City
Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe in their Chelsea Hotel apartment in New York, 1970 by Judy Linn.
“I believe that we, that this planet, hasn't seen its Golden Age. Everybody says its finished...art's finished, rock and roll is dead, God is dead. Fuck that! This is my chance in the world. I didn't live back there in Mesopotamia, I wasn't there in the Garden of Eden, I wasn't there with Emperor Han, I'm right here right now and I want now to be the Golden Age...if only each generation would realise that the time for greatness is right now when they're alive...the time to flower is now.”
– Patti Smith