Features / Five in Bloom

From Trailers to Treehouses: Where Bloomers Write

by Juhi Singhal Karan

Whether it is “a folding table wedged between the baby’s cot and the dining table” or “a clean, well-lighted place” every writer has a room of his own where the nebulous mist of thoughts coalesces into words and sentences. Here we bring you five such “rooms.”

Mark Twain’s Writing Hut

Mark Twain's Writing Hut Writing Space

Jon Clinch said of Mark Twain here at Bloom, “Like Whitman, he contained multitudes.” Mark Twain preferred writing “in complete isolation on the top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley and city and retreating ranges of distant blue hills.” Of his writing hut Mark Twain said, “It is the loveliest study you ever saw.”

Alan Heathcock’s VOLT-mobile

Alan Heathcock Volt-Mobile Trailer Writing Space

Alan Heathcock’s debut Volt was hailed as “[S]hocking, illuminating, and unforgettable” by NPR and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Heathcock’s choice of a writing studio? The VOLT-mobile: “[a] 1967 Roadrunner travel trailer that for most of its life was an Idaho State Police surveillance vehicle, and is now packed with books and trophies and random oddities.”

Diana Athill’s Table in the Living Room

Diane Athill Table in the Living Room Writing Space

The table in her living room in her tiny apartment is where Diana Athill wrote books that, in Amy Weldon’s words, “established her as someone not only “able to make things” like Motesiczky, but to write well about others who do.” Talking about its lack of a view, Athill said that “a window looking onto an agreeable view . . . would be fatal.” In her own words, “I can shut out some distractions when working, but not the temptation to watch what’s going on out of doors.”

Jonathan Maberry’s Curios Clutter
Jonathan Maberry Curios Office Writing SpacesJonathan Maberry Curios Office Writing Spaces

Jonathan Maberry’s first novel Ghost Road Blues won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. Along with being a prize-winning author, he moonlights as a Marvel Comics writer. In his own words, his office space is “crammed with all sorts of oddities, including a bobble-head statue of Edgar Allan Poe, a genuine cat skull . . . zombie finger puppets, my Bram Stoker Awards . . . a Malaysian good-luck bat. Being inside my office is a bit like being inside my head. Fun, a little spooky, and cluttered with interesting curios.”

Scott Sparling’s Treehouse

Scott Sparling Treehouse Writing Spaces

Of the 20 years that it took him to write Wire to Wire, Scott Sparling said, “None of this felt late to me, you understand. It felt perfectly right.” Much of it was written in the treehouse that had just a desk and a laptop and nothing else. In his own words, “A lot of times I’ll come out here on a Saturday and I’ll look at it and I’ll think, ‘This is something a crazy person built and threw up in a tree.’ I realized partway through that it was a metaphor for the book. I didn’t know how to write a novel when I started writing the novel. I started trying something, things didn’t match, and the more that happened, the more I started liking the rough edges. I liked that they didn’t match. I like that the walls don’t come together and the rain comes in.”

Bloom Post End

Homepage photo credit: Gene Wilburn via photopin cc
Volt-mobile photo courtsey http://writeplacewritetime.tumblr.com/
Diana Athill’s table photo courtsey Eamonn McCabe
Jonthan Maberry’s photo courtesy http://writeplacewritetime.tumblr.com/
Scott Sparling’s treehouse photo courtesy MOTOYA NAKAMURA/THE OREGONIAN

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