Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Where Writers Write: Snowden Wright

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 the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 

This is Snowden Wright. 

Snowden’s first novel, Play Pretty Blues, was recently published by Engine Books. He has written for The Atlantic, Salon, Esquire, and the New York Daily News. Author of the e-book How to Get the Crabs, Wright can be found online at

Where Snowden Wright Writes

Sometimes for a writer it’s helpful to be watched, by one’s subject, by one’s influences, and, most importantly, by time.

I work for one hour every morning. On the top shelf above my desk, glaring down at me, is a framed portrait of Robert Johnson, the subject of my first novel, Play Pretty Blues. It’s situated between and above books that either inspired or influenced me while writing this one: Shirley Hazzard’s The Bay of Noon, E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces, Nancy Lemann’s The Ritz on the Bayou. Also on the top shelf is an hourglass. Although I don’t actually flip it each morning to measure out my one hour, it’s helpful in a symbolic way, reminding me not to quit after, say, 45 minutes.

The chair is from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. While I was an MFA student there, the school replaced the chairs in the classrooms and let students, if they wanted, take home the old ones. It’s fun to imagine which alumni of the program might have sat in it over the years. Richard Price might have been in that chair when he got his first workshop critique.

On the wall behind my computer is a small picture of one of my favorite writers. In it a teenaged Walker Percy, author of The Moviegoer, waits in line to see a movie. He’s the one with his leg kind of jutting out. Sometimes it looks like he might be whistling. His stance gives off just the slightest hint of a punk that I think many future geniuses must have had when young.

My writing space pervades the rest of my apartment in the form of posters for movies based on my favorite books. Here’s one for the little-seen film adaptation of John Updike’s Rabbit, Run. It’s in front of my couch on the wall behind my TV. I can see it every time I watch a movie or unwind at night after work with a drink. 

“Sure, go ahead and turn on Netflix Instant. Go ahead and pour yourself a Scotch,” it seems to say. “But remember, tomorrow morning you damn well better be back at that desk for an hour.”

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