Nola Studiola: Do you have a physical space and routine that helps you create? How has your creating schedule changed over the course of your career? Also: would you rather have the ability to be invisible, or the ability to fly? And, do you have an amulet/talisman?
I know this is actually 4 questions in one. Pick what you want to talk about and see what happens.
Gosh, I’m not sure. (See bouncing around between things below for my standard MO!) I have tried many different things over the course of my career: pen and paper vs. computer, coffee shops, sitting on the floor instead of the desk, sitting at the desk, all of which have worked at different times. I laugh now thinking about taking my laptop outside to type. This was in the days when laptops were a brand new phenomenon and I didn’t realize it’s impossible to see the screen in the sunshine!
I just know I have never been able to create at my job. It’s got to be some other place. Oh–and the house needs to be clean if I’m home.
I’d rather be invisible. I’d love to eavesdrop on conversations.
AB: Me too! I always, always, always wanted to be invisible. Actually, I used to calm myself into sleep by imagining getting through my next day in middle school/high school as invisible. I also concentrated deeply on what it would “feel” like to be dead–if you don’t understand how big of a meditative state that can put you in, you haven’t tried it.
A 50-something year old woman, an acquaintance of mine, declared recently that once she became invisible to men, the public, strangers, passersby and wait staff, she felt truly free. She was talking about her looks and her age and the expectation we all have been told that we will become invisible –non-women–once we are not young women. I recall a lot of people, including some friends, speaking to me in warning tones about squirreling myself away this summer, and the danger inherent in such a project.
I can’t help but lay the two messages side by side…I was struck by how similar the feeling of risk and danger that laced very different people’s concerns about my alone-ness project. (Oh no! She might….fall off the face of the earth! scream! Cry! Drop things! Get drunk! Well, I’ve done them all, (you can’t fall off the earth, duh) and I’m still whinnying with you.) In their defense, it’s true that I struggle with anxiety and from time to time a drop of depression. Yes, I know about therapy and pills.
But it’s true–I think there is something very scary about a woman alone, that we pretend to chalk up to safety considerations. I think a woman alone, a woman who is still young-ish choosing not to be seen by society, is much more terrifying to society than a woman who has been judged not worthy of “being seen.” and is made to be invisible.
Yes, a woman alone can be a very scary cliche: weirdo, prude, scared, stuck, ill-adjusted, hysterical. I am reminded of a former professor, Laura Mullen, who taught me that there would be surprise stakes in attempting the writer’s life as a woman, regardless of my women’s college and my fiercely independent, loyal parents.
You can kill them [people] literally; you can also kill someone by treating someone like a cliché.
Did I scare you?