Some years ago, at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival during a Q and A session at the end of one of the many Talking with the Authors sessions, some twenty something hopeful posed the question ‘Where do you do your writing?’ Well actually, the answers were as diverse as the number of plays/novels/articles that the Festival focussed on.
I write at home – in bed, first thing of a morning. If I stay in bed until the afternoon then I’ve had a successfully creative morning. My friends just think I’m a lazy ne’er do well who needs to get a proper nine till five job. But I know lots and lots of writers who work in bed. Sometimes of an evening – often last thing before they go to sleep.
The most popular answers at the LA Times Festival though were:
- AT HOME ON THE COUCH – often in front of the TV.
- IN MY HOME OFFICE – at my unbelievable untidy desk. [an untidy desk being a pre-requisite for a writer].
- ON TRAINS – AMTRAK or THE UNDERGROUND or THE SUBWAY. Commuting somewhere.
- SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN MY POKY APARTMENT – a favourite café perhaps.
What no mysterious cavern or fortress of solitude? What doesn’t seem to bother our authors is the lack of peace and quiet – somewhere to hear the muse without all the distraction.
According to tradition, Euripides wrote his tragedies in a sanctuary, known as The Cave of Euripides, on Salamis Island, just off the coast from Piraeus. No one is entirely sure what the ‘Cave’ was or whether it was isolated and distant enough from society to influence his reticence to adhere to the strict protocols of the Athens Dionysia Festival and refusing to cater to the fancies of the judges. In fact, it was not until 441 BCE that he won first prize, and over the course of his lifetime, he claimed just four victories, many of his plays being considered too controversial and non-traditional for the Greek audiences of the day.
i-Witness’ adaptation of MEDEA is now available in paperback and is a new twenty-first century twist on Euripides’ most shocking of tragedies.
John Cleland – author of FANNY HILL – MEMOIRS OF A WOMAN OF PLEASURE wrote his famous bawdy novel in Fleet Prison. Cleland (1709-1789) was sent to this notorious debtors London in 1746; the novel was first published in 1748 and was the earliest example of pornography in novel form. Fleet Prison was a notorious London Prison at the side of a stream (River Fleet). Mainly used for debtors and bankrupts, Fleet contained some 300 prisoners and their families many of whom had to beg from their cells, that overlooked the street, in order to pay for their keep.
Our adaptation of Fanny Hill, in play form, will be available in hard copy next week.