In the beginning, I wrote in a dorm room. A university library. A café. I graduated from college and wrote on my desktop at work at lunchtime and after hours. After grad school I spent most afternoons at the public library, although my fellow patrons were never as quiet as I wanted them to be, nor is the library ever open as late as I would like. In a perfect world libraries would be open 24/7. Am I right or am I right?
This is why I need the Writers’ Room. It is quiet in here, and there are not too many books. (There is such a thing as “too many books” when you are in procrastination mode.) I still work best at night, and although I have a nice big desk at home, there are always too many distractions there: sewing and knitting projects, laundry, a drawerful of fresh veggies to cook up, and so many books I haven’t read yet. So I come here, arrange my laptop, journal, assorted notes and research, and settle in with a cup of tea in this fifth-floor perch above State Street in downtown Boston. I have passed many happy evenings in this fashion—happy and productive evenings. This time last year I was pounding out a draft of Immaculate Heart, my 2016 novel, and thanks to the peace and good juju of the Writers’ Room I was able to finish that draft in less than three months. Then I was away from Boston for two months last spring, and I didn’t join up again over the summer to save some cash, and I really really missed it. (I finally renewed my membership at the beginning of January.)
Just as awesome as the productivity boost is the community of writers here who have become good friends. At the Boston Book Festival in October 2013, I fell into chatting with Mary Bonina, who was staffing the Writers’ Room booth in Copley Square. She was wonderfully friendly but didn’t give me the “hard sell,” which I really appreciated. (I’d been invited to join an artists’ space the previous summer, but decided it wasn’t the right place for me when the administrator tried to pressure me into starting my membership sooner than I was ready for.) Mary invited me to the next WROB open house a few weeks later—it was on November 14th, my birthday, which I took to be a good sign—and as soon as I walked out of the elevator I felt that warm little hum inside that said, this is going to be your other home.
I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back.
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If you’re interested in learning more about the Writers’ Room of Boston, come to their open house on
Monday, February 9th Wednesday, March 18th, anytime between 6 and 9pm (the outgoing fellows are doing a reading at 7pm, though, so best to get here on the early side). The address is 111 State Street, Boston (above the Dunkin Donuts). There will be wine and munchies!
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