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? Join John Louis Krug, second year MFA in Poetry for literary promises in the morning and fragment catching in the afternoon.
Where do you write?
I live in a tenement building, circa 1890, located in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan. The apartment is what you call a “railroad flat” as it is a floor through apartment with several rooms, all of them small. I am fortunate to have a 6x10 foot room with a west-facing window that over the years has become my writing room.
Stand, sit or other?
I sit and sit and sit, even though I know sitting is the new smoking.
What is your writing practice?
I am a slow writer in that I am unable to dump words on the page for any length of time. I edit as I go, so if I can get a paragraph written I generally go back through it and do a loose edit before I move on. I suspect that way of working is informed by my training as a poet, as I can sit for hours — days looking at one stanza, line or one word in a poem I am working on. Or, it could be that I am such a horrendous speller and grammarian that I can’t ignore all the squiggly red and blue lines infecting the page. I always try to have a notebook with me to jot down fragments that float by wherever I am. And I promise myself each night before I fall asleep that, if I awake with a thought, word or line in my head that could be used in a current or future poem, I will get up, go to my desk and write it down in a notebook I leave open just for that purpose. My mornings are littered with broken promises.
What are your favorite procrastinations?
In these semi-cloistered days I tend to get up from my desk, go to the kitchen, make a coffee or a cup of tea, and stand and listen to whatever WNYC radio has to offer. If I am really stuck I’ll mask-up and go for a walk in the neighborhood, forget about what needs to be put on the page, and relax into the bits of nature I find on my amble.
We live in interesting times, which book/author keeps you sane/grounded?
I constantly read poetry, new collections and the expanded canon. I am sustained and made more human by Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
What is your new skill learned during the shutdowns of the Pandemic
Realizing that making plans is a privilege.
What is your dream writing space?
Actually my current writing room is my dream space, because I never saw myself living in New York City, and I never thought I would complete my BA, let alone an MFA and become a writer. Life is a wonder.
John Louis Krug is a second year MFA creative writing student with a concentration in poetry at The New School.