Thanks to the magic of twitter I was alerted to this great site, A Piece of Monologue. I nearly did a cartwheel (I say nearly cos I can’t cartwheel – the splits are more my thing!) when I saw the “cover” featuring the writing room of my equal favourite author of all time (along with Jane Austen and Margaret Atwood), Siri Hustvedt’s writing room.
It’s a room much like any other “study” I guess and very much a place that I can imagine work being done. The light is gorgeous though. There’s something uber cool and exciting to me about seeing the space in which someone I admire so much does her work.
Siri’s book, What I Loved is one of my all time favourites and she has a new book, The Shaking Woman or A History of my Nerves which is a memoir (and I may have suggested to the Mr that he will be murdered if that doesn’t end up coming my way courtesy of the Birthday Fairy).
I love what she says about her writing room:
A room to write in isn’t like other rooms, because most of the time the person in it doesn’t see it. My attention is on the page in front of me, on what the people in the book are doing or saying, and my awareness of the things near me is muted, part of the vague sensual information that comes and goes as I mull over the next sentence. I do feel the light in my room, however. You can feel the light in her picture and I love the idea of her mulling over what her characters are doing and saying.
Siri’s own website has some really interesting essays if that’s the way you swing. She writes on all manner of topics and unlike some other literary authors I find her ideas and thinking accessible. Here’s an excerpt from her essay, “Notes on Seeing“:
1. To look and not see: an old problem. It usually means a lack of understanding, a inability to divine the meaning of something in the world around us.
4. Once, in an unfamiliar hallway, I mistook myself for a stranger because I did not understand I was looking in a mirror. My own form took me by surprise because I was not oriented in space. Expectation is powerful.
23. Mothers have a need to look at their children. We cannot help it.
24. Lovers have a need to look at each other. They cannot help it.
28. When I read stories, I see them. I make pictures and often they remain in my mind after I have finished a novel, along with some phrases or sentences. I ground the characters in places, real and imagined. But I always remember the feeling of a book best, unless I have forgotten it altogether.
Oh wow! The best type of writing for me is the type that reflects back to me ideas I haven’t been able to form words around and if I have, they aren’t anywhere near as powerful. Siri takes my breath away regularly.
I saw Siri and her husband and fellow author Paul Auster, speak at the Adelaide Writer’s Week Festival a few years ago. They were on the same panel as Ian McEwan – I nearly died of excitement – and they were both so fabulously real and engaging.
Now, I’m off to indulge my girl crush a bit further by checking out Siri’s New York Times blog articles – sigh! 🙂
ps. If you’re keen, you should check out the marvellously well written article by Margaret Atwood re Twitter