distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

The Sinkhole That Is My Apartment

I didn’t write a word once I reached the apartment yesterday evening. I don’t know what happens when I’m inside these narrow walls—crumbling brick on one side, grayish white on the other. All of my energy is sapped once I set a foot inside. The couch swallows me up like a sinking carpet. My brain buzzes along with the refrigerator. The TV bullies me into turning it on.

It’s quite awful. Truly, we need a bigger apartment so there is an extra room for writing. But we could never afford anything larger in this city. Truly, I need to shut off the cable and throw the TV out the window, but I get such pleasure from it numbing me at nights after long days at work. This is why I have to pay for a place to write—I’ve been doing it now for I guess almost seven years. I think that’s something someone would only do in Manhattan. I’ve heard of other cities with windowed apartments and extra rooms, but I know I’d be battling myself even there. Couches can be anywhere. My writing spot is so important because 1) it is quiet as a library, 2) there is no TV, 3) people cannot chat with you, 4) there is nothing really to look at, 5) other writers are writing around me so I feel the drive to do the same, and 6) I am shelling out hard-earned money to go there, so I must make my time worthwhile while there.

I’m heading to the writing spot now. Full disclosure: there are two couches there, but I don’t let myself sit on them. Sometimes I see other writers napping on the couches, so tempting… Still, I am a stronger, better person when outside of this apartment. I have to be. Even now, I am in my living room across from my couch and the fan is on my face and I am thinking “I’m sooo tired” and No! I’ve got to get out of here before it sucks me back in.

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3 responses to “The Sinkhole That Is My Apartment”

  1. For four years my husband and I lived in one tiny noisy ramshackle room. There were holes in the ceiling, holes in the windows, cockroaches everywhere and our neighbour had serious mental problems which manifested themselves loudly at 4am. During those years, my husband did a degree and I wrote a book and a textbook. How on earth did we do it?! I look back and feel breathless with claustrophobia. I felt like an animal let out of a cage when we found our new place. I even – briefly – had my own writing room. The writing room is now the baby’s room but it is still amazing to have space. It’s like Virginia Woolf said – a room of one’s own – writers need one.

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