“if the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. if it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. but i arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. this makes it hard to plan the day." — e. b. white

e. b. white, 1976 [original]

© jill krementz, from a history of women photographers 3rd edition by naomi rosenblum

“I didn’t actually have to write a thing because the act of reading was my writing. I thought of myself as a writer for years before I got around to writing anything. It’s not a bad way to begin. It’s to blur that distinction between reader and writer. If you think about it, any book that you pick up as a reader, if it’s good, is a printed circuit for your own life to flow through—so when you read a book you are engaged in the events of the mind of the writer. You are bringing your creative faculties into sync. You’re imagining the words, the sounds of the words, and you’re thinking of the various characters in terms of people you’ve known—not in terms of the writer’s experience but your own. So it’s very hard to make any distinction between reader and writer at this ontological level. As a child I somehow drifted into this region where you are both reader and writer: I declared to myself that I was the writer. I wrote a lot of good books. I wrote Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini. That was one of my better efforts.” —E. L. Doctorow

Doctorow with dog Becky, swimming in Gardiner’s Bay, New York, August 3, 1975. Photograph: Jill Krementz.


Jill Krementz, The Writer’s Desk


I am a workspace voyeur — especially writer’s workspaces. My bible here is Jill Krementz’s The Writer’s Desk, a collection of wonderfully evocative photographs of, well, writer’s desks. In the introduction, John Updike writes, “I look at these photographs with a prurient interest, the way that I might look at the beds of notorious courtesans. Except that the beds would tell me less than these desks do. Here the intimacy of the literary act is caught in flagrante delicto: at these desks characters are spawned, plots are spun, imaginative distances are spanned.”

Filed under: my reading year 2013