The View From Hemingway's Attic

Culture, politics, literature

William Hazelgrove

William Hazelgrove
chicago, Illinois, usa
January 27
William Hazelgrove is the best selling author of four novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks Mica Highways and Rocket Man. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man was chosen Book of the Year by Books and He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic. He lives in Chicago.


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APRIL 25, 2012 7:29PM

The Singular Life of Writing Fiction

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You don't golf. You don't bowl. You don't play tennis or poker or get together with the guys at the gym. You don't have any other hobbies really. You maybe bike or jog but this is all to the end of writing. You write fiction and besides the rest of your life that is all you really do. The writing requires time but it is the thinking that burns up most of your free time. And you have to think alone.

You go to coffee houses to get away but of course there is always some fool at the next table giving his life story or somebody being proselytized while you try and concentrate. Maybe it is fodder but right now you are trying to read and think. You are trying to dope out the next scene maybe several scenes maybe trying to get a sense of the whole book. It is mind bending work and you have to be miserly with your time because you only have so much alone.

Family gets the rest. Seeing your friends. After that it is the logistics of life and writing. That takes up just about all of it. And you think about all the other people who live normal lives and don't have to worry about reading x amount of books or scribbling scenes in notebooks or getting in that one two three hours of writing that is a must every day.

But then you would be a different person.

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So don't go to the coffee house. Go to the library.
But libraries now are hosting knitting clubs, which are really cackling, chattering club, kiddie storybook hours (reading aloud) with giggles and squeals and pretty girls strolling around who demand to be noticed.

For me? Playing solitaire on my laptop between jibberjabbering on OS and Facebook, all the while working out the scenes and structural turns in my head. I don't even walk in the woods anymore. The ticks are out in full force and that would mean a bath and change of clothes when I got back, which would cut into my writing time before my midday nap comes around.
You are so brave. Thank you for your many selfless sacrifices.
I think thomas edison haf it right. A laboratory with a table to take naps on