Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Where Writers Write: Dinty W Moore

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 Dinty W. Moore. He is the author of The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life, as well as the memoir Between Panic & Desire, winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize in 2009. He also edited The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers. Moore has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Iron Horse Literary Review, and Crazyhorse, among numerous other venues. 

A professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University, Moore has won many awards for his writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. He edits Brevity, an online journal of flash nonfiction, and lives in Athens, Ohio, where he grows heirloom tomatoes and edible dandelions.

Today, he shares his reasoning for keeping a grungy writing room:

Where Dinty W Moore Writes

Call it superstition: I have moved five times in the last twenty so years and always make sure that my writing room is the least attractive space in the house. Once moved in to our new home, we paint the bedrooms, spruce up the living room, dining room, and kitchen, and sometimes, when we can afford it, upgrade the bathroom fixtures, but the writing space stays more or less as it is found. Shoddy, rough around the edges.

Even my computer is old, running an outdated version of Windows and very few other programs. Fewer distractions that way. The computer is not, thank goodness, connected to the Internet.

Why such adherence to roughness? I’m not sure, but I do know that about fifteen years ago a friend of mine had some wonderful with his second novel, and pocketed a hefty royalty check or two. He took that money and built himself the writing studio of his dreams: a massive space above a three-car garage, with natural wood floors and high beamed ceilings, an antique desk, two fireplaces, a reading nook with comfortable furniture, a full bathroom, and best of all, a picture window overlooking a long, green valley of trees and hawks and clouds.

Best I can tell, he has never written another thing since moving into that aerie of a space.

There was just too much to do in that room, other than write, and too much pressure, maybe, to live up to the grandeur.

So give me the grunge. Give me a pock-marked, garage sale desk, discarded sheets as curtains, and unpainted walls. I did upgrade my chair recently – my aging back demands it – but I’m resistant to spend another cent.

Superstition? Yes. Actually an important writing requirement? Probably not. But I believe in it, and thus it works for me.

Check back next week to see where Carol Guess writes.

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