Listen to Pilot Light

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Standing up for literature

Back sometime around the time of Charlemagne, I remember reading a bio of Hemingway and being struck by the idea that he wrote standing up. That, I thought, was about the dumbest thing a person could do. After all, being comfortable let the mind flow around in all that creative space.

Somewhere along the line, that idea went out along with the one that smoking a pipe and wearing jackets with leather elbow patches improved my writing. Not that I snub anything that would improve my writing, but I had come to realize that looking like I thought a writer should look didn't really help me get better prose on paper.

I came, somehow (I really don't recall) to embrace the idea of writing standing up, at least part of the time. In Cambodia, Dagny made me a standing desk and a local carpenter made a stool exactly to my dimensions. (I do wish I could have brought that stool back -- I modeled it after one I saw in a bar in Koh Kong). So my writing station looked like this.

The motorcyle didn't improve my writing either, but this was Cambodia, and the office was in what had been a bar (and a church and a brothel) before we rented it.

This set up worked pretty well, although standing on concrete limited my stints at the computer. And yes, the little notebook was all I had for quite some time. Worked okay, but slow.

Then, coming back to the US, I knew I wanted something different. Dagny and I both spent a lot of time looking at office designs that were aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic (and finding out what that meant to various folks). We found lots of high-tech solutions like the one below but that seemed too expensive and overkill. I am not that high tech anymore.

Then we found a nice solution. And it looks like this.
It's an adjustable stand up desk (Focal Upright Furniture) and works better than the one in Cambodia. This is just a recent incarnation of the setup and I am getting used it, but I think it is working great. The light (optional) is fantastic. Good friend and coauthor, Jim Beckett, loaned me a monitor and printer and keyboard so that my laptop thinks its a tower. Life is good.

And there go my excuses for not writing.