What’s this all about? The New York Times Magazine featured photographs of “The Rooms Where Writers Work”—to be more specific, three writers. No one knows who these writers are. Nobody has ever heard of these writers.
Why is Camille Bordas’ room so dark? What is hidden behind those black lacquered Venetian blinds? “I like to reduce.” she says. “I’m always aiming for a completely bare space in which to work. But then I tend to accumulate things, books and little trinkets.” As cluttered as her work space is, there’s no world outside of it. Sleeves of Nicorette, she tells us, are not as aesthetically pleasing as packs of cigarettes. We worry about the books on her bookshelf. She wants us to see Lapham’s.
Meanwhile, Javier Zamora writes, “More and more I’m hearing that there’s a lot of nature in my work.” Who is it who tells Zamora what’s in Zamora’s own poems?
Danzy Senna covers her window with a white bed sheet. Her Ikea couch is draped with fur. “Around me” are “Mother’s Day portraits” drawn by her children. “[A]nd I thought it was funny because one was significantly browner and had black curly hair and the other one was pale, so it kind of reflected the duality in my work.” Her children’s drawings do not reflect the duality in her work.
To be fair, I too am the subject of a New York Times Magazine feature called “The Rooms Where Writers Work”—though my profile was published here, on Lori Hettler’s blog. Note that I do not write in any of the places portrayed; the stairwell is not mine, the “office with no windows” was demolished last year, and the “more mundane” office is occupied now by Buddha.
[Photo of Camille Bordas by Sean Donnola for The New York Times Magazine.]