April 15, 2006

The Writer’s Desk
Jill Krementz

Evidence – I have owned this wonderful book for several years and I find myself returning to its pages, again and again, as if I were a detective studying crime-scene photographs for an unsolved case. E.B. White types at a spare wooden table beside an opened window looking upon a calm lake in Maine. Susan Sontag, cigarette in hand, holds court behind a long table cluttered with stacked books, The New York Review of Books and a black rotary telephone. Willie Morris stretches from a chair to place a handful of papers upon a side table while Spit McGee, his now-famous cat, slumbers on the carpet behind him. Katherine Anne Porter, wearing a necklace of pearls, leans forward to more closely examine scribbled edits on a typed manuscript. John Cheever looks as if he’s just been caught sitting at his typewriter – no paper in sight – with a large glass nearly empty on his desk beside two packs of Marlboro cigarettes. I scour these photographs looking for clues. Just how do writers write?


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