Book Trailer The Noble Train

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Problem with Writing at Home

Lets face it if you are at home then the assumption is you aren't working. A lot of us grew up with fathers who marched off to an office. They conveniently disappeared with a wave of their fedora and vanished into the early morning sun not to reappear until dinner was on the table and would return with the scent of the world on their suits, something vaguely like the smell of sharpened pencils. Father would then ask everyone how their day went and hit the tube for an hour before going to bed to start all over again. This is how a a lot of people grew up.

The writer violates the first principal of Father Knows Best. He doesn't leave! BZZZZZZ. Im sorry you cannot play Provider Daddy. The writer stays in his house and watches everyone else leave. Clearly something is wrong here. Men go off to work. Women go off to work. Kids go off to school. Writers make a pot of coffee and sluff down to their computer in their slippers. WHOA! This is clearly way out of the dad paradyme. What the hell is he doing in the house all day? Surely not working.  Working is going out to the workplace which entails planes, trains, and automobiles. A egress and ingress. A leaving and a return. The writer simply fills up his mug again.

This creates dissension in the home. For one thing the suspicion is that nobody really works who works at home. Even in the age of the AT HOME OFFICE, the common view is that he or she is not really working. They are doing something at home that is not work. Getting a job or having a job is still associated with going to a central point of neutrality where adults gather to break bread in the bigger world endeavour of making buckos. There is a ritual here and it is not a place for kids, infants or dogs. It is where big people go to be big people and clearly the real world is out there while the home is sanctuary, a respite, a fort against the spinning world of people, stress, and too many things to get done. So who is that guy in the robe at his computer?

Ralph Ellisson endured these same views in 1940's Harlem. People assumed he was a sponge living off his wife while he wrote Invisible Man. He didn't even bother telling people he was a writer. They wouldn't have believed him. He was at home doing nothing. There is that view. I actually leave my home and go to a different place to write, but a lot of times I don't. I'll just sit down in my office over the garage or perch on the table on the patio, the kitchen table. Inevitably I begin to feel like I'm not working. Something about going somewhere else. The separation of church and state maybe. Maybe I should buy a Fedora and wave goodbye just to see how it feels.
Rocket Man will blast off in the summer

Books by William Hazelgrove