Posted by: oneyearbook | June 15, 2009


“A methodical man, John Shade usually copied out his daily quota of completed lines at midnight but even if he recopied them again later, as I suspect he sometimes did, he marked his card or cards not with the date of his final adjustment, but with that of his Corrected Draft or first Fair copy. I mean, he preserved the date of actual creation rather than that of second or third thoughts. There is a very loud amusement park right in front of my present lodgings.”

-Charles Kinbote, in Pale Fire, first noting the irritant that will plague him in his writing efforts

Many other things will go on to get in the way of Charles’ writing (most of them self-imposed), but about this one, the loud amusement park, I can only say that I feel for him. We live in a fairly quiet area (no amusement parks, at least), but sometimes the peaceful sanctum of my working corner is pierced by the noises of summer – gardening power tools, kids squealing their cars at high speeds down the nearby road, big trucks trundling past the house – and I think, “My kingdom for an ivory tower in which to write.”

But actually my current location’s pretty good, and so the rest of the time I give thanks for that.


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