Forget all of the life-of-a-writer garbage that pops up in blogs and on the shelves of Borders and Barnes & Noble, the fabulous Gay Talese leads by example. Here, in all of its eccentric glory, is a sketch of his workday:
Paris Review: How does your writing day begin?
Gay Talese: I get dressed as if I’m going to an office. I wear a tie.
PR: Cuff links?
GT: Yes. I dress as if I’m going to an office in midtown or on Wall Street or at a law firm, even though what I am really doing is going downstairs to my bunker. In the bunker there’s a little refrigerator, and I have orange juice and muffins and coffee. Then I change my clothes.
GT: That’s right. I have an ascot and sweaters. I have a scarf.
PR: Do you like that the bunker doesn’t have windows?
GT: Yes. There are no doors, no time. It used to be a wine cellar.
PR: How do you write?
GT: Longhand at first. Then I use the typewriter.
PR: You never write directly onto the computer?
GT: Oh no, I couldn’t do that. I want to be forced to work slowly because I don’t want to get too much on paper. By the end of the morning I might have a page, which I will pin up above my desk.
PR: Surely there must be some days in the middle of a project, when you’re really going, that you write more than a single page.
GT: No, there aren’t.
Source: Paris Review
Image by Joyce Tenneson.