Books Travel Writing

Writers’ houses (and basements, and decks)

Today, an interesting essay by one of the Mailer fellows from the inaugural year of the Writers Colony — the same year I went to a week-long workshop there, on scholarship. I will admit that I didn’t feel at all overawed by Mailer’s house, or by any ghost of his presence, though I also didn’t spend a lot of time writing there — I had a nice little scrubby beach-house apartment to myself that was much lighter, brighter, and quieter than Mailer’s house. At the end of the week our group had a dinner party at Mailer’s house, with the consent of the program administrators. We grilled on his deck, listened to his records, and drank wine in his dining room, and eventually we all ended up in the basement taking turns with his punching bag. I know there were members of our group for whom Mailer was a much bigger writing influence than he is for me, but none of us seemed to feel the way that Amy Rowland describes. So intriguing — how spaces strike people differently.

Also, via Alexander Chee, here is an amazing interview with Ray Bradbury at the Paris Review. I disagree tremendously with elements of it — not teaching kids math? not outlining? — but the ending of the piece is remarkable.

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