Monday, June 25, 2012

Manly Writing Rooms

When I came across this article about writing rooms of famous men in the Art of Manliness, I couldn’t resist a peek.

The article includes movie-worthy libraries and studies of authors as famous as Rudyard Kipling, William F. Buckley, Norman Mailer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and a few other notable names.  Roald Dahl’s space is such a welcome surprise, I have to share it with you. You can even explore his hut here, through the Roald Dahl museum.
I envy book-walled studies-cum-libraries, finding them soothing and intriguing.  Such a collection of classic novels, well-bound references, historical essays and philosophical tomes must confer greatness to a writer in their midst.  Right?

I can't help comparing my own space to these (or to the beautiful layouts in the Pottery Barn catalogue for that matter).  My shelves are not picturesque. My desk is less so, with works-in-progress competing for desk space with bills, magazines, school forms, etc.  

Roald Dahl’s unique space is an inspiration, and a reminder that less can be more. Rows and rows of books – not necessary. Sparse solitude worked wonders for him.  I wouldn't call it 'manly', but then again, his hut certainly isn’t feminine, not that it matters. 

Mostly, his space was well-defined, and well-used. He was so focused on his work that he often kept the curtain closed.  No distractions.  Oh that my space was so conducive to productivity.  Of all those wonderful writing rooms,  I aspire to his. 

Which room do you aspire to? What about your office -- how do you see your writing space?


  1. We, too, have always admired "library" rooms and yesterday my husband pointed out to me the NY Times picture of Martin Amis in his library that has a rolling ladder.

    Oh, wouldn't we like a library room like his! Not going to happen.

  2. I love my office...except when it is in total disarray, like right now. It's a small, comfy space that is totally mine. But I started clearing files last month and then got really busy, so piles are on the floor instead of back in the cabinets, boxes stand ready to be filled and moved into storage, stacks of paper need to be stuffed in the shredder. Not to mention the piles on my desk. I don't write as well when my room is in this state.

  3. I remember hearing an interview with William Mitchner (HAWAII, CHESAPEAKE,POLAND etc)describe how he started a new book. He went to the locale, rented an apartment, went to the local lumber yard and purchased a new door and two saw horses, went home and set up his desk with the door across the saw horses, his typewriter and a dictionary -voila - his office!