How Does Your Writing Day Begin? Try Cuff Links

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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.

PR: Again?

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.

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