Friday, February 17, 2012

David McCullough: shedworker



Author, historian, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, David McCullough is also very much a shedworker (although he calls his Pittsburgh shedlike atmosphere a 'writing studio' or 'the bookshop' rather than a shed). Inside, the unfinished walls are lined with around 1,000 books, mainly about John Adams about whom McCullough wrote a hugely successful biography. "I put it out here," he says, "so the kids didn't have to worry about making too much noise while I was writing."

There's a really nice interview with him in The Paris Review including a chat about his garden office. Here's a snippet:
“Nothing good was ever written in a large room,” David McCullough says, and so his own office has been reduced to a windowed shed in the backyard of his Martha’s Vineyard home. Known as “the bookshop,” the shed does not have a telephone or running water. Its primary contents are a Royal typewriter, a green banker’s lamp, and a desk, which McCullough keeps control over by “flushing out” the loose papers after each chapter is finished. The view from inside the bookshop is of a sagging barn surrounded by pasture. To keep from being startled, McCullough asks his family members to whistle as they approach the shed where he is writing.
And here he is in his studio in this lovely video (from about 8.40).


Thanks to Amy Rosenthal for the alert
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