Friday, December 22, 2006

POV Jessica

Recently a young journalist came to our wreck of a house on the edge of the cemetery to interview Ben and me about our collaboration.

Before she arrived, I recalled Caryl Churchill, the British playwright, sharing how she resented those journalists who would come to her home for an interview and end up commenting in their column about the dirty dishes in her sink: a good writer/slovenly housekeeper sort of angle. (Not that I put myself in Churchill's league; as a dramatist she's been first rate for decades. I saw TOP GIRLS 4x's when it played Joe Papp's public theater a lifetime, well maybe only 20 years ago; but I too have dirty dishes.)

I looked down at the splintery floor with patches of half torn up linoleum; up at the dangling web of electrical wires hanging from the ceiling from which hung the cheap chandelier dangerously close to eye level; I inhaled deeply to smell the moldering house and thought this could get ugly.

But Jessica didn't raise an eyebrow, only mentioning that the cemetery just beyond our chain link fence had inspired our current novel in progress,A Grave Digger's House.

Thank you, Jessica.

I love a woman who loves her job, and Jessica feels
happy with hers as a feature writer, but does have
aspirations-- though little time to write fiction.

Here's what she wrote:

Writing definitely can be a lonely task. Often the case is that no one else can really help you get thoughts out of your mind and onto the page, since at times it is hard enough for you to do it yourself. To explain what you want to say to another person can be a difficult thing. And, in the case of writer’s block, it tends to just be up to you to figure out a way to get beyond it.

I personally find it difficult to collaborate, in part because of scheduling and also because it can be hard to blend two different styles of writing and thinking. Even so, it also seems like something that would be fun to do at some point.

However, as lonely as it can be, it is certainly very rewarding. It’s a great feeling to see the pages of a notebook fill up with your own creative thoughts. I just wish I had more time to work on it!


At 10:27 AM , Blogger Sheela Wolford said...

This is a great woman. She speaks from her heart, from her deep center; hold on! I want to say to her. Hold on!

On another note, Eben, I know you are considering artists for future books. Here is my brother's site:


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