MY LIFE AS A WRITER
© Copyright 2019 Mathew Tekulsky
I thought it would be a good idea to share some behind-the-scenes images of what it’s like to be a working writer, especially a writer of fiction. I often bring typewritten pages of what I have written so far with me to a local cafe, and I then continue the story longhand, as I people watch and just clear my mind of the constraints of being at my house all the time.
You can see one of these pages here on the table.
Then, when I return to my office, I input what I have handwritten into my computer. I often write on my computer as well, and use the Internet to do fact-checking, as when I was working on my short story entitled “Heidelberg.” You can see the Old Bridge on my large screen as I reminded myself of my visit to this great city in 1974.
While I was writing my novel Bernie and the Hermit, I used a number of books for research, and you can see them here along with my handwritten text and the typewritten text on the computer screen.
Sometimes, when I am writing in a public place, I lose myself in the story and I seem oblivious to my surroundings, but it’s all part of keeping the creativity going. In this photo, I’m writing my short story called “The Postcard,” based on a railway trip up the Jungfrau mountain in Switzerland.
Later, back at home, I fact-checked a view that I had witnessed of the Grindelwald valley, with the face of the Eiger on the right.
Sometimes, I use my time at the café to proofread the typewritten text of what I have so far, as in this photograph of me working on Bernie and the Hermit. You can see that I have already produced a lot of material by the thick folder of paper beneath the pages on which I was working.
On another occasion at the same table, you can see me writing the short story “The Alamo,” which takes place on the Sunset Limited Amtrak train, and beneath my handwritten pages, I have printed out from the Internet the menu from the dining car of that train for accuracy.
The result of this combination of working at home and in public is (hopefully) a published book, in this case The Martin Luther King Mitzvah, which I am holding up at the same table where I was working on Bernie and the Hermit at the beginning of this essay. Being a working fiction writer means working all of the time, while you have the inspiration, and you only know when you are finished when you feel that you have reached the logical end of the story. As a former editor-in-chief of Scribner’s told me many years ago, “Just keep writing.”