Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How do you write?

So how do you write? Standing up, sitting down, in the bathtub, on the back of your lover...

Here is an interesting article by diplomat-cum-novelist Navtej Sarna on the several odd ways of writing that famous writers have adopted from time to time. Some examples:

"Honore de Balzac would try and write 24 hours at a stretch and then take a five-hour break before starting over again. He consumed huge quantities of black coffee to beat fatigue and actually became a victim of caffeine poisoning at age 51. Alexander Dumas suffered from indigestion and the pain would wake him up in the small hours. He would then work on his writing desk till breakfast that usually consisted of a solitary apple under the Arc de Triomphe. His poetry would be written on yellow paper, fiction on blue and non-fiction on rose-coloured. Victor Hugo would give away all his clothes to his servant with instructions that he should not return until Hugo had completed his day's work. Ben Franklin and the author of Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmund Rostand, preferred to work in their bathtubs. Mark Twain and R. L. Stevenson could only write when lying down and Virginia Woolf, Thomas Wolfe and Lewis Carroll had to stand up to deliver. Thomas Wolfe, at least, who confessed to finding it easier to add 75,000 words than cut down 50,000 must have been very tired on finishing Look Homeward, Angel. D. H. Lawrence found stimulation in climbing mulberry trees in the nude. Voltaire used his lover's back as a writing desk."

"The poets, of course, had favourites of their own: Coleridge is said to have dreamt up the scene for "Kubla Khan" under the influence of opium; Eliott would revel in writing if he had a head cold; Poe liked to have his Siamese cat on his shoulder and Schiller liked sniffing at rotten apples every once in a while."

May I add one more from my side? Urdu poet Firaq Gorakhpuri used to write all naked in a room after getting drunk. Interesting, isn't it?

I do it like any normal pen pusher. What about you?

6 comments:

Ami Titash said...

I have to be sitting in a pubic place...surrounded with lots of people...copious coffee...all by myself...lots of sunlight and fresh air...

thats when i am at my creative best.

Mag said...

Interesting post!

Zafar Anjum said...

Thanks Titash for sharing with me how you enjoy penning your thoughts. It sounds so healthy, and so Parisian...

If I am surrounded by lots of people, I will be eternally distracted, and if I am lonely in a hilly area, I will be forever spooked):

Loved your name. It's beautiful.

Zafar Anjum said...

Thanks Mag. Do you also have a blog?

bibliobibuli said...

enjoyed reading this ...

Manzoor Khan said...

I write mostly in the afternoons, after lunch. The only place where I have written so far is at my workstation, and of course, during the office hours -:).

The more though provoking question is: why do you, me, and we all write?