Monday, October 21, 2013

Quriky Things Famous Authors Did as Regular Routines

Since the first vignette is about John le Carre, I will tell you a little thing that happened to Mr. le Carre and to me.  

46460While walking with friends in Hampstead, London, I saw an older gentleman and presumably his wife, walking toward us on the sidewalk.  As we met, I lost my footing and inadvertently pushed the man off the sidewalk and into the street.  After many apologies on my part and nothing but kindness on his, we all went on our way.  Our friend, who lived in the neighborhood, said, "You just pushed John le Carre into the street!"  All I can say is, 'What a nice fellow!'

 As an MI5 officer, le Carré spent his 90 minute train rides from Buckinghamshire to London penning his debut novel, Call for the Dead. Le Carré quipped, "The line has since been electrified, which is a great loss to literature." 

Instead of hopping in an actual tub, every morning Benjamin Franklin took what he called "tonic baths" in the open air of his bedroom-he'd shed his clothes and work naked, for up to an hour ...

Agatha Christie had two important demands for the renovation of her mansion. She informed her architect, "I want a big bath, and I need a ledge because I like to eat apples." Christie constructed her plots in a large Victorian tub, one bite at a time.
 Maya Angelou writes in the isolation of a hotel room. To ensure there are no distractions, she requests that everything be removed from the walls. Her own essential tools, which she brings into the bare room, include yellow pads, a dictionary, a thesaurus and a Bible. She used to also bring sherry and an ashtray.
And perhaps the strangest of all:
Dame Edith Sitwell had a ritual of lying down before she set pen to paper. Rather than reclining on a bed or a couch, though, she chose to climb into an open coffin. In those morbidly tight quarters, the eccentric poet found inspiration for her work.
Celia Blue Johnson is the creative director of Slice, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit literary magazine. She is the author of several books, most recently, Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors.

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