Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Where Writers Write: Mark Maynard

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. 

photo by Tom Seawell

This is Mark Maynard. 

He is the fiction editor for The Meadow literary journal and teaches creative writing in Reno, NV. His collection of short stories Grind was released by Torrey House Press in December 2012.

Where Mark Maynard Writes

I’m fortunate enough to have a writing space at home. This is a place of ritual, inspiration and compartmentalization for me.

Ritual: The small built-in desk houses my computer and just enough flat space on the left (I am left-handed) for whatever notes I need for the task at hand. My work begins with me placing on the desk a particular notebook, book, or various scraps of papers related to whatever I will be writing. My reference materials are on the adjacent shelf, next to the vintage Underwood typewriter (see “Inspiration” below). Behind me is a small folding table that holds additional materials or papers to be graded. On the shelf just above me is my coffee mug from, and, as soon as I am ready to begin writing, I spin it 180 degrees so that its vulgar, heart-shaped imperative is visible while I’m sitting at the keyboard.

Inspiration: In addition to the ancient typewriter, I’ve strategically stacked my bookshelves to inspire me. Above me are a collection of books by mentors, colleagues and friends – a sort of karmic reminder of the potential results of years of hard work, perseverance and grit. Above that is a shelf of my favorite novels. To the left of that is a shelf of my favorite poets and just below that, immediately to writer’s left, is an alphabetized shelf of my favorite short story collections including T.C. Boyle, Ron Carlson, Raymond Carver, Amy Hempel, Hemingway, Alice Munroe, Tim O’Brien and Tobias Wolff. Interspersed among these are photos of my wife, my two sons, my dog, my parents and many of my friends. These help sustain me in solitary moments where I’d rather leave the desk and go out into the tangible world.

Compartmentalization: This room is my primary workroom. Here I read, write fiction , write non-fiction, conduct research on a documentary film I amworking on, review and edit manuscripts, and prepare for my college courses, including planning and preparing for lectures and grading papers. In order to be able to switch between these things, I have a constant rotation of neatly stacked piles, plastic file boxes, the folding table and several bags (the leather satchel contains school texts and papers, the canvas tote -- research and notes for the film project) that can be moved in a cyclical fashion through the various permutations of “work”.

Check back this time next week to see where Joshua Mohr gets his writing on!

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