Portrait of a writer

The writer is generally portrayed as a guy/gal sitting at a desk, typing away in a dark, dingy room; with a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. We’re talking a loner, here; an introvert—a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings.  I know a lot of writers, and for the most part, very few fit this ‘portrait’ of the writer. Some of the poets fit the description but the screenwriters, playwrights, and novelists are just everyday ‘Joes’ and ‘Janes,’ leading everyday lives and chasing their ‘dream.’ 

Most of us have replaced the typewriter with a computer—desktop and/or laptop; I mention both because a lot of us like to write other places beside home.  The muse can make its entrance anywhere, at anytime and if you are like me, be gone as quickly as it came. When armed with a laptop, the writer can snare these elusive gems, like a butterfly in a net, for later use or instantly fit them into their rightful place on the spot.  Maybe that is why the writer seems to be more of a social animal these days, more normal—no, I think not, but it does allow us to get out and about more.

The laptop also allows us to seek solitude, from the humdrum of everyday life—family, roommates, parents and children. We can escape to a bedroom, the basement, garage, or bathroom; wherever the distractions are fewer and further between to record our tales.

The laptop comes in handy too while the writer pursues one of his/her favorite past times—people-watching. Whether you are in your favorite coffee shop, the park, mall or beach, the laptop helps camouflage the fact that you are covertly spying on the goofy blonde or exocentric older man two tables over or on the bench across the way.  It’s easier to play like you are not eavesdropping on the conversation at the table next to you, if it appears you are raptly involved with something on your computer. And no one has any idea you are madly typing notes of the juicy bits, or the fact their trouser fly’s unzipped. It certainly works better than jotting notes on a pad.

As for being the solitary, lonely figure, locked away in my turret… well, that ain’t me, Baby.  Not only am I an extrovert, who needs to be around others and feed off of their energy, I write with a partner, Wash Phillips, who is equally extroverted and somewhat compulsive.  You’ve all heard the old saw, write what you know.  Well, sitting alone in a dark room contemplating your keyboard until your forehead bleeds isn’t going to yield too many new and different experiences. You’ve gotta get out there and take a chance, stand up and take your shot, Live, baby, live.  Drink the Wine and Smell the Roses!

Dark room? Typewriter? Give me a break!

Wally Lane

5 responses to “Portrait of a writer

  1. Live, baby, live.

    That might be my new favorite motto! 😀 Cheers, Wally!


  2. Raymond Bolton

    “Maybe that is why the writer seems to be… more normal”

    No, no, no that ain’t me, babe. ( – B. Dylan) I have never fit either the profile or the norm and, like you, Wally, I am a certified extrovert. Make that a certifiable extrovert. My wife says I’m pimentoed and plugged into somewhere else, but that’s where the ideas come from. My laptop accompanies me most places so I can write when an opportunity arises or inspiration flutters by.

    Thanks for setting conceptions straight.

  3. I think mine is the motto for this blog – if you want to write life, live it. I’m half and half, I think. Half introvert but half extrovert. And I have to admit that it’s a complicated – and sometimes frustrating – balancing act. But I love both sides so I live with the complications.


  4. Wally, there are many of us who are very happy that you come out into the world and visit us. Since I work a regular job every day, the idea of having a room to shut myself up in and write is enticing. But, you are right, we need to people to help generate ideas.

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