Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Isabel Allende writes about why she writes

Hell is January seventh

I start all my books of January eighth. Can you imagine January seventh? It's hell.

Every year on January seventh, I prepare my physical space. I clean up everything from my other books. I just leave my dictionaries, and my first editions, and the research materials for the new one. And then on January eighth I walk seventeen steps from the kitchen to the little pool house that is my office. It's like a journey to another world. It's winter, it's raining usually. I go with my umbrella and the dog following me. From those seventeen steps on, I am in another world and I am another person.

I go there scared. And excited. And disappointed—because I have a sort of idea that isn't really an idea. The first tow, three, for weeks are wasted. I just show up in front of the computer. Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too. If she doesn't show up invited, eventually she just shows up.

— Isabel Allende

An excerpt from Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors On How and Why They Do What They Do, edited by Meredith Maran. Publication date: January 29

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