Thursday, August 22, 2013

Isabel Allende: shedworker

Writer Isabel Allende - The House of the Spirits, Zorro, Paula - is also a shedworker, writing away in what she calls her 'casita' (trans: 'little house') at her home in California. Sadly, there don't seem to be any images of it, but her garden office is certainly a central part of her working life.

"I try not to work on Sundays," she told the New York Times, "but if I am in my writing time (Jan. 8 to around May), I may sneak to my casita to work if we have no guests. The casita was meant to be the pool house, but it ended up being my studio... I have written several historical novels that required a lot of research, and in that case I did most of the reading in my 'casita', where I write."

Writing in the book Why We Write, a compilation of famous writers' writing habits, she explains that: "On January eighth I walk seventeen steps from the kitchen to the little pool house that is my office. It’s like a journey to another world. It’s winter, it’s raining usually. I go with my umbrella and the dog following me. From those seventeen steps on, I am in another world and I am another person. I go there scared. And excited. And disappointed — because I have a sort of idea that isn’t really an idea. The first two, three, four weeks are wasted. I just show up in front of the computer. Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up."

Interestingly, there is no phone, email or fax link in her shedlike atmosphere, and the only person allowed to disturb her while she is at work is her husband. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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