This Writer's Life
Monday, November 20, 2017 at 3:42PM
Anne Ylvisaker in writing process

I write in a little house in the ravine behind my house, a space I cleverly call "The Little House." This is where I've been snugged away writing a new novel and working on other projects.

That stack of papers on the bottom shelf of my bookcase is an accumulation of drafts of the new novel. The wall is covered in images that inspire characters, places, ideas. Every once in a while I take everything off the wall and start again.

The top of the bookshelf is home to my favorite pen and pencil cups. My laptop is just out of view on the gray table. I write longhand in notebooks, doodle, draw, paint, play with ideas on paper, and type on my laptop. I read poems, write poems, make word lists, sit staring out the window letting shy ideas tiptoe in. 

Music is almost always playing in the little house. Right now Glenn Gould is playing Bach's Goldberg Variations. Earlier I was listening to the Maggie Rogers and Moby stations on Pandora.

My dog Buster is outside barking at a deer who has come up to the fence to peer in at him like he's an exhibit in the zoo. Sometimes Buster curls up in the chair to listen to me read the day's writing. There are persistent crows in the ravine, keeping a hawk at bay.

Out of this picture's view are two tall stacks of books balanced on metal spines. Books like Polly Horvath's My One Hundred Adventures, Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, and Sid Fleischman's The Whipping Boy, stories so good they make me itch to write stories of my own. Books like Brenda Ueland's If You Want to Write, Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, and Ursula LeGuin's Steering the Craft that guide my way. 

I love words. I love stories. This is one lucky life.


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