I don’t have a dedicated writing space. We have four kids (current ages ten to sixteen months), and they dominate all spaces in the house.

So I write everywhere. Wherever I can.

Like Dante, Poe, and Stephen King, I write in the basement. When I go down there, I mean to write dark, dark things. But our basement is sunny and filled with toys, so I write stuff like this: He dominated conversations the same way his nose dominated his face.

To honor Tillie Olsen and Grace Paley and my mother, I write in the kitchen. Mostly recipes, dinner menus for the week ahead.

Like Ford Madox Ford and William Carlos Williams, I write in the dining room. These men—they weighed a combined 587 lbs.—liked to eat and write. Fork and pen men, they were.

In the bedroom, like Andre Dubus and Edith Wharton, I write. My mistress—I do not have one— and my wife would attest.

Following David Markson, I write in the library where my recall is perfect and my thoughts organized. The library is the best quiet place to work through third drafts.

Like Charles Bukowski, Dylan Thomas, and Dorothy Parker, I’ve written in bars. But generally in the afternoon and drinking only coffee.

I’ve written in the woods, like Thoreau and Annie Dillard. You can get lost in the woods if you don’t know what you’re doing. Better to write on a screened porch, almost outdoors, like Lydia Davis.

Like Elizabeth Ellen, I write in my car—she recently posted a picture on Facebook of herself writing in her car, which reminded me how often I write in my car. Like Flannery O’Connor, I like to write on buses and trains. And like Thomas Pynchon, I’ve written on airplanes.

As T.S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens were known to do, I write a lot at work, maintaining my correspondences, my many multiple submissions, and revising my third person bio.

William Walsh is the author of Questionstruck: A Collection of Question-based Texts Derived from the Books of Calvin Trillin (Keyhole Press, 2009) and Without Wax: A Documentary Novel (Casperian Books, 2008). In addition to work forthcoming in Annalemma, Pank, and Artifice, his stories have appeared in Kill Author, Lit, Caketrain, New York Tyrant, Juked, Rosebud, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and other journals. A story collection called Ampersand, Mass. is forthcoming from Keyhole Press. Writing Spaces is a series dedicated to the desks, cafes, libraries and retreats where Fictionaut writers work, providing a window to the physical places where some of the stories on the site originated.

  1. Kathy Fish

    Love this. I, too, have four kids (an older batch) and can relate to no designated writing space, writing in cars, writing in the basement, writing surrounded by toys…

  2. Brad Green

    Excellent! I like this a lot.


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