It’s All Talent
I recently visited Stephen King. Not the man himself but his black, wrought-iron, bat-studded fence outside his red home in Bangor, Maine. That day his front driveway gate was open, yawning, daring, but I didn’t trespass. I stood and stared, then walked the wide sidewalk up and down the block in both directions, nonchalantly. Exactly like all the other nonchalant walkers there every day, I’m sure.
To this lovely, manicured home I had the same reaction I had in Edinburgh at The Elephant House, the cozy cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote, which sells a postcard of her scribbling Harry Potter longhand at “her” table, her blonde hair aglow from the yellow light of the wall sconces.
My reaction there and in Bangor was the same. That it’s all talent. The home and the cafe are great, but they aren’t magical. It’s only a wooden table; it’s merely a Victorian house. The magic resides in the fine minds of these writers — minds muscled with imagination, driven by hard work, resilient in rejection, committed to getting it done.
I realized once again, in Bangor on a stunning day in June, that the best writers create their own magic. And it’s earned. Few things are more difficult than writing well.
I’ve had my moments of “if only.” If only I had somewhere to write that wasn’t the dining room table. Another writer I know assures me that he really needs a second house to which he can decamp without distraction. He’s looked for one but can’t afford two. He says the want of that nail is the reason he’s not creating.
As I pulled out from the curb last month on my way back to the highway, I thought of that man and realized again that there are no excuses. My dining room table is fine. All a writer really needs is her mind.
Oh, and a bat-studded fence. Gotta have that bat-studded fence.