When I came back from East Africa last month with five notepads full of material for a new book, I started looking for a place to sit down and write, and do nothing else. I have a study at home, but it’s full of unfinished business, and in our house there’s a lot of deferred maintenance. So I trolled the internet for an office (nothing under $500/month), or a shared work space (not quite as expensive, but you have to put up with hopeful new entrepreneurs Skyping away at the desk next to you). Then I called Sunil Freeman (Assistant Director of The Writer's Center).
I've known Sunil for more than twenty years. When The Writer’s Center was still on Old Georgetown Road, he and Al Lefcowitz offered computer classes to writers who were trying to make the transition from the Underwood and the fountain pen. I’m looking for a work space, I said. Any ideas?
"Well," he said, "it’s funny that you mention it. While you were away in Africa, we've completely rebuilt the lower level, and turned it into a writer's studio. It’s not totally finished yet, but Stewart (Moss, Executive Director) says you’re welcome to try it out."
So that’s where I’ve been these past three weeks, happily doing my 1,000 words a day.
Ernest Hemingway did some of his best writing in cafes in Paris and Madrid. He preferred large, airy rooms that were not tomb-silent like a library, but places where people talk in low voices and leave you alone when they pass your table. He even wrote a story about it. He called it "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," and that’s exactly what you'll find at the new Studio at The Writer's Center on Walsh Street.