Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Where Writers Write: Carol Guess

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!

Where Writers Write is a weekly series that will feature a different author every Wednesday as they showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where some of TNBBC's favorite authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 

This is Carol Guess. She is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose, including Switch, Tinderbox Lawn, and Doll Studies: Forensics. She is Professor of English at Western Washington University, where she teaches Creative Writing and Queer Studies: Follow her here:

Where Carol Guess Writes

Dear Charming Reader,

I write in my head, unmapped terrain. It's excellent company to have this voice constantly narrating real and imaginary worlds: my own personal radio. So there's the radio inside my head, sometimes loud and sometimes turned down or turned off. Then the words, which end up on sticky notes or scraps of paper. Eventually I sit still long enough to tap things onto the computer. Then I need quiet and alone-ness to move the words around for weeks or months.

My best writing happens when I'm moving. Walking is great for turning the radio up real loud, so walking down the street is one place I write. Also, animals are excellent for talking to, because they don't care what the radio is playing. It's all noise to them. So sometimes I write alone in a room with an animal, or two, or three. I like to lie down, and because I'm always cold there's a heater, and coffee, and a white noise machine. A hot little coma of the room where I go.

Impediments to writing include: being cold; NOISE (noise, I hate you); people & their parties; insecurity; time sucks (stupid things we all waste time doing, like watching porn or cute animal videos); chores; RAN OUT OF COFFEE; publicizing books instead of writing them; worrying.

Likely scenarios for writing include: quiet; falling in love; great sex; no internet access; movement; reading beautiful poems out loud; collaborating with someone far away; warm blankets and fuzzy socks; dense bread and salt; coffee; rain; the color blue.

When I'm not writing I feel depressed, so detaching writing from a specific location has become very important. In fact I don't like thinking of writing as writing, and I don't believe really in the hype about rules, about how and who, about advice, about try this or that. I think some people have very loud radios, and I'm one of them, and if we don't record the songs in our heads, we go crazy. If you don't walk a dog, it chews up your shoes; it barks like a mad thing; it jumps all over the furniture. I mean the radio is a dog, too, this feral thing we try to tame.

Fondly Yours,

Check back next week to see where Nan Cuba writes.

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