Dani Shapiro writes about freedom – both examples-from-life freedom and Freedom, the software product that lets you temporarily block internet access so you have the freedom to write:
“I have a piercing nostalgia for the places in which I used to write. A small room on the top floor of an old building on the the Upper West Side, which faced the interior courtyard. It was a friend’s room—it didn’t belong to me—but I can still remember the crack in the plaster that ran along the wall to my right, and the guy across the courtyard who smoked through an open window, ashtray balanced on the sill. I smoked too, in those days. When I hit a rough patch in the work, I’d open my own window and light a cigarette. I’d watch the guy across the courtyard, and he’d watch me. We were each other’s witnesses to an otherwise solitary and highly private process.
Next, I lived in the back of a quiet building a few blocks south. The floors were old, herringbone. The building had an antiquated system for distributing the day’s mail to its occupants. One of the doormen went to each apartment’s door and slid the batch of envelopes beneath. The only interruption in my morning was the sound of paper against wood. I waited for that sound—the outside world, sliding in. Later, I rented a house on Henry Street in Sag Harbor where I finished my very difficult third novel one sweltering August afternoon. I can call to mind the quality of the sunlight when I left the house, giddy, on sea legs, like the lone occupant of a sailboat who hadn’t quite believed she’d ever see land again. I just finished my novel, I wanted to tell the lady walking her dog on the street. But instead, I contained myself. Why would she care? I didn’t need to broadcast it to the world. It was my own, private euphoria.”
Back to writing!