Who Agrees with Virginia Woolf?

On the ipod right now: Ani diFranco, Pulse

It is a very gray day in my adopted city and if ever there was a day to call in from my regular job and curl up with the laptop, this would have been it. Unfortunately I have an important presentation today so it wasn’t really an option.
If there are two things I miss about the southern midwest where I’m from, they are the manners and the rain. If there two things I need to remind me about why I left they are the intolerance and overt, ignorant, racism. In Denver it rarely rains. My colleagues in other states ping me to ask how the snow is going and I constantly have to stress that while the Rockies get dumped on, the city has as much sun as San Diego. It’s quite hard to get a good emo mope on with all this daylight!
Today the city isn’t just gray, it’s drizzly and my skin feels like it can breathe again for the first time in a long while. I dawdled too long around the house and missed my first bus, resulting in a half hour wait outside and it was delicious. Denver in Sprintime is incredible but I miss the temperate air of back home, where you could let yourself get a good autumn soak and just feel clean.
But a guy has to eat and this brings me to a Room of One’s Own. The mental gymnastics Woolf goes through to prove her points in that essay are elaborate and regardless of one’s sex, there the matter of money strikes home. Whether male or female, you need food to write. The romantic notion of the starving writer has never worked well for me. When I was hungry and cold I had a surplus of angst but not a great amount of creative connectivity. Woolf understood that you have to eat in order to do your work. You must be well fed for all the right neurons to fire. I used to think that being happy might be a detriment to my writing and I have to laugh at that David of ten years ago. I’ve never been happier, better fed, or a better writer. A lot of that is practice and a lot of it is having a comfort zone to work in every day.
I have to add something else to Woolf’s premise: you need space and food, but you also need life experience. My day to day work experience fuels my writing as well. Even as a fantasy writer, I don’t think secluding myself to a room and writing would be good for the stories I want to tell. As a reader, I cannot connect to a protagonist whose life is too radically different than my own. There has to be something familiar and human about a character, no matter how morally flawed or heroic they might be.
It would have been a great day to seclude and type but it’s a good day for gaining some experience too.

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