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A Writing Space of One’s Own

Friday from the Archives: “Geography for Writers” by Lee Zacharias from NCLR 17 (2008).

The liminal space between years invites time to sit and think about works written, or needing to be. In 2008, author and professor Lee Zacharias wrote a tribute to both her own writing spots and those of other writers.

“Creating a book is such a moveable feast it’s no wonder we long to sit at the massive oak slab of a banquet table.” Zacharias stated. “A scarred vanity, a cracked kitchen table, dorm room bed or Greyhound bus, it doesn’t matter what we remember, as long as it’s concrete.” Those are the examples she shares from her own experience, from early childhood memories and moving through young adulthood, college and graduate school, and teaching.

Finding a space to fully delve into writing–both the inner creative work and the outer organization of research and drafts–is critical to the successful completion of a writing project. Whether that work is carried out with pencil and notepads, old school typewriters, or on a computer screen, the writer must be carried away to some extent and forget about their place entirely, in order to “…seek that trail of clues that were invisible until they appear on the page, of scattered matches and vanished armies that reappear to order chaos into meaning, creating a map read in darkness that leads us to light.”

Zacharias shares writing space details for dozens of authors, including her husband author Michael Gaspeny, fellow North Carolinian Jill McCorkle, and more. Knowing how such famous authors wrote serves more as insight that inspiration can be followed anywhere: the place isn’t magical, the creativity is.

Read the rest by ordering it for your collection.