Fiction ’89 alumna Nan Cuba was recently featured on TNBBC’s Next Best Book Blog, as part of their “Where Writers Write” series.
I’m sixty-five, and I’ve reverted to the womb. When I converted a bedroom into my office, I consciously filled it with memorabilia and art, surrounding myself with artifacts that stimulate and nourish. Everywhere I look: faces, scenes, chatter. Stuck for a piece of dialogue: glance at the bookshelf to the left. Need an image: look inside the glass-fronted cabinet above the desk. If nothing else works, check the window on one wall.
I’m a phenomenon of self-discipline, a holdover from my Bible-belt upbringing. When I sit at my desk, I have no trouble getting to work. So once, I tried writing according to a specific schedule. Fitting time around my day job, I rose at 4:00 a.m., read the previous day’s product, then pounded out a pledged three pages. I loved being in the world when everyone else seemed out of it. The dark, the quiet, the stillness invigorated, sending me straight to my subconscious. Like an automaton, I stuck to my schedule because I’d been trained that failing to meet a commitment meant irresponsibility, flawed character, and worse, a father’s disappointment. I was proud, productive, and finally, exhausted. After five months, I went to bed with the flu, sleeping almost continually for a week...[Keep Reading]…
Nan is the author of Body and Bread, arriving in 2013 from Engine Books.