“In writing of a spider, I did not make the spider adapt her ways to my scheme. I spent a year studying spiders before I ever started writing the book. In this I think I found the key to my story.” E.B. White.
E. B. White. A writer at work. In a space so wonderfully austere it gives me a sense of profound peace and quiet.
I always joke that if I could get my desk to look more like White’s was in this photo, I might be able to write a book like Charlotte’s Web. I greatly admire White’s essays and his other children’s books. But Charlotte’s Web is my favorite of all.
I keep this image tacked on my studio wall over my mess of a desk. Some years it's the simple beauty of his space that grabs me. Other years, I take heart in the ocean outside the wide rectangular window--sure that it spurs his stories on. This year it's the grain of authority in his soft posture telling of his focus that pulls me in. As always, I'm touched by his need of the barest of elements to create: a desk, a chair, some paper, a typewriter. And a wastepaper basket. Empty.
It’s quite possible that this photo was posed. It’s possible that while writing Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White’s desk was filled with pads of paper, notes, candy wrappers and cups of moldy coffee. It doesn’t matter. Not to me. Because White was right when he wrote—“… that reality and fantasy make good bedfellows.”
Happy Fourth of July to one and all. May you each find some time and space to be quiet and peaceful.
Tea Time – Include a little civility and grace in your weekend. Lilac in May shows you how to make a perfect afternoon tea.
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You can read my latest Lion Brand Essay--A Knitter's Ode to the Sweatshirt by clicking here.