Silence seems to be the bedfellow of language: The less I talk, the more I write. So when I work on a book, I have a hard time talking about what I'm doing,except in the most ichoate of ways to a few people who make sense of-or pretend to make sense of--rooms with half a window, knobs without doors, and countries that aren't on a map.
It's a lonely and necessary silence. To fill it, I impose a discipline of exercise, meditation, and--perhaps most importantly--forcing myself to get dressed in a semi-respectable way every morning and leave the house for coffee.
Writers often get inspiration from other writers--from their work, from what they say about their process, and from stories about their lives. I owe the discipline of getting respectably dressed to John Cheever, who lived in a New York apartment with his family: Every morning, when people were leaving for work, Cheever put on a suit and took an elevator with the commuters. When they got off on the first floor he went one floor down to the basement where the janitor let him write in a small, windowless room. At six, when people were coming home, Cheever took the elevator up to his apartment.
There's one part of the routine I don't have to indulge. Cheever's small, windowless room was so hot he took off his suit and worked in his underwear. I first sit in a cafe and then look out the window of my studio, which faces a garden and is a battlefield for several mean-spirited cats. Each cat thinks the garden belongs to it alone, so every day I witness a kind of cat-reality- show, while they fight and hiss.
None of them appreciate my clothes or care when I re-appear in the evening wearing my oldest jeans.
Causes Thaisa Frank Supports
Kiva Doctors without Borders Care2