Houses and Novel Writing

Anne Trubek, A Skeptic’s Guide to Writers’ Houses (2011) got me thinking about my house. I’ve written one novel (Boiled Peanuts) and, like the stink bugs that have Biblically plagued the house since last autumn, when one pops up you know more are nesting in the crevices eager to emerge. I really should invest in an oriental rug for the office (study), donate my old sci-fi novels to the public library and upgrade to some George Eliot and Thomas Hardy. Ultimately, literary tourists will want to see where I sat staring at my laptop with occasional flurries of finger movements, not this armchair, because the cats have shredded one corner, but a better one.

In a small way, I’m a house peeper (coincidentally the topic of Boiled Peanuts); I was thrilled to see the Dickens house, hoping some essence from the great old man (he’d be 200 next February, had he lived) would invade me from the ether. I’ve added Shakespeare, Longfellow and Hemingway to my limited catalog, and, I think, Poe. I remember his grave but I’m a blank on the house. Conveniently, there’s a cemetery across the street from my house, it’s an African-American cemetery, but I presume my etiolated (sun denied) writer’s skin will not debar me, and those pilgrims who pay $20 to peek around the house can freely traipse across the road to kiss my tombstone. First, I have to die, but before that I have to find some readers and, darn it, I’ve got to write the books.


  1. I doubt Shakespeare had even a cat-scratched comfy armchair. Maybe you should think of downgrading. You probably just have it too good.

  2. I've been to Poe's childhood home, but was more inspired at the saloon where he supposedly consumed his last drink.

    We are how we live, more than where we live. Find the readers, write the books... but I say keep the old sci-fi novels and the cat-shredded armchair.