Today we’re sharing Shannon Blake’s Writing Space with you! Shannon is the author of “The Mataram Miracle,” which can be found in Issue 144!
This year, I spent three weeks in Dundas, Ontario on a writing retreat. I sat in a little back room and wrote, then went for long walks through the snowy woods at the end of the day. I need absolute quiet when I write, as well as no phones and no internet. When I’m in the city, I usually try to find a cubicle in a library at the University of Toronto. I like prefer to be away from windows (again, I’m easily distracted). I know that everyone writes differently, but I find that I resonate most with Annie Dillard’s descriptions of writing in The Writing Life. She also felt a need to close out the whole world in order to find the world in her head.
I don’t find the noise of daily life helpful for writing, but I do like random facts. A birding book was helpful to me this year. I also appreciate any and all stories about the Virgin Mary.
Besides all of this, I am deeply connected to a community called Sanctuary in downtown Toronto. Sanctuary is a place that facilitates relationships between street-involved people and people of relative privilege. I find that the questions and experiences I emerge with at Sanctuary greatly inform my thinking and my writing.
We’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look into the writing process – straight from the desks of our contributors! Check out the full series here.