“Writers don’t have lifestyles. They just sit in little rooms and write.” Norman Mailer as quoted in A Year of Writing Dangerously
I must take issue with Norman Mailer. As I sit in my little front room writing, I cannot completely disagree with the second part of his statement. But, I disagree completely with the first part of his statement, which makes me disagree with part of the second part of his statement.
Perhaps Mailer’s lifestyle consisted solely of writing, but mine does not and cannot. I am not simply a writer. I am a Christian, wife, mother, home educator, home maker, daughter, sister, friend, and a church member. All of these roles and more define my day-to-day decisions. Which is why the second statement is not wholly true for me. I do not “just sit in little rooms and write.” I must sit and write in the little rooms of time I find within each day.
It is not always the little rooms of time I “set aside.” More often it is the little rooms of stolen moments before alarm buzzers, dinner timers, and sports practices. There are the rare blissful little rooms in coffee booths on Saturday mornings. At the moment, I am listening to Jim Brickman’s Escape, and truly escaping as I write.
No matter where those little rooms may be, my lifestyle creeps onto the page with its funny, angry, perplexing, tearful, frightening, cathartic, ironic moments that make writing real. Without living, no writing!
To Mr. Mailer, I say,
Writers live with style. Wherever and whenever they sit, in every little room they inhabit, writing is their habit.