Creative Writing at The New School

Writing spaces are as varied as the individuals who occupy them. The range of “space” we enter for our writing practice is a wide, wild field from tidy to random, from Maya Angelou in a sparse hotel room to Marcel Proust in bed, from Jane Austen at the kitchen table to you: what does your writing space look like? Soak up the sunlight with second year MFA in fiction student Isabella Kestermann.

Where do you write?

I’ve found myself writing in this small room on the fourth floor of my apartment building. It used to be an exercise room but now its just for extra storage. I was attracted to this spot because of the amount of sunlight it gets in the middle of the day. Being from California, I find myself really missing the sunlight and being in the warm room with nice sunshine just always puts me in a peaceful mood. Its also a big plus that this room gets terrible wifi connection, so I can only focus on what I’m writing. 

Stand, sit or other?

I’ve done any and all positions. I think sitting or laying down on the floor works best for me but I have tried to revise poetry while waiting in line at a salad bar before, so hey. 

What is your writing practice?

Honestly it changes all the time. I’m really trying to work on consistency because I know that helps just like having a consistent sleep schedule helps, but sometimes I just need to change things up. Right now I’m trying to write for twenty minutes while my tea water boils so by the end I can reward myself with a nice cup of Jasmin green tea. 

What are your favorite procrastinations?

Sooooo many. Anime, minecraft, youtube, instagram, Dungeons and Dragons, the list could go forever. Currently I’m ruining my life with animated video clips from Dream smp which somehow has united my love of role-play, Minecraft and animation into a terrible addiction.

We live in interesting times, which book/author keeps you sane/grounded?

When it comes to politics I think a lot about Hannah Arendt’s book On Violence. It’s main philosophy is that violence comes from the loss of power. The siege on the capital is a clear example of this thought. So while the times are tough and scary, I find comfort in knowing that people who threaten violence only do so because they have no real power. 

What is your new skill learned during the shutdowns of the Pandemic

I don’t know if I learned any new skills more then I improved ones I already had. I got a lot better at cooking and I found myself enjoying it  a lot more then going out to eat. I can make killer sweet potato brownies now, which I’m very proud about.  

What is your dream writing space?

Probably somewhere with a lot of windows and sunlight. Something that lets me enjoy the pluses of outdoors while also still getting to enjoy the comfort and connivence of being inside. 

Isabella Kestermann is a second-year MFA student in fiction at the New School. She's originally from Los Angeles where she was involved with the Los Angeles Poets and Writers Collective and Poet-tea Poetry. She currently resides in Washington Heights, New York. 

About The Author

Founded in Greenwich Village in 1931, Creative Writing at The New School continues to promote, engender, and shape innovative literature.