I knew Mark Beyer when he was a talented graduate student in Chicago some years ago, so imagine my surprise and delight when I was teaching a fiction writing class in Prague and was interrupted by a phone call from the very same Mark Beyer. He had taken to the road sometime after he received his MFA from Columbia College Chicago and after a stint in the publishing biz, following paths that led him to many places in the world, and ending up in (for now at least) Prague. We’ve kept in touch since that phone call in 2009, and I am very pleased that Mark has invited us into his writing space.
I have tucked myself into a corner to write. It’s my best mental space, a corner; no distractions, books nearby, a comfortable chair, the tea kettle ten steps away. The overflowing cork-board has too many pins to make sense, so any peek at it sends me back to the sentence from which I jumped. The room has many windows that give wonderful light. At night, I draw the blinds to create a cave atmosphere; a very writerly space.
I spend 4-6 hours here, four days per week, lately finishing a novel titled WHAT BEAUTY— if I’m lucky with class cancellations I get a fifth day. My writing times are late morning to mid-afternoon. Perfect for my energy level. The other 2-3 hours per day I spend here (seven days per week, in the evening, when my mind is not so sharp) I do book marketing for my last book, THE VILLAGE WIT — or write essays, read online magazine articles, blog for Bibliogrind.com, kibitz with friends.
This space has become my ally, friend, and confidante (yes, sometimes I speak to the cork-board). I trust its comfort. I feel “tucked in” when I sit here. I’m also close to the heater. And if I need help on a grammar question, my wife is just behind me, at her desk.
What you don’t see here (besides my wife) is the view from the window, something I rarely take in myself until the work is done. The view is across Prague 10, a residential area that includes a huge park with its own vineyard. The distant buildings are modern high-rises that let you know they are definitely NOT the Art Deco period of European history, of which mine and the surrounding palace apartments derive. And what you don’t see is a big wood-burning fireplace, which looks a bit like Magritte’s “Time Transfixed”.
I don’t have to write here, staring into a corner; when a hot story moment or piece of dialogue strikes me, I’m comfortable writing nearly anywhere under any light, noise, movement, weather, or duress (!) … But I choose to write in this spot because this is my home, where so many memories are stored, and where love exists.
Excerpt from THE VILLAGE WIT:
And love? Where were the perforations in love’s box? This question, Bentley realized, he no longer had an answer for. But he knew one thing about love that was true. The end happens so fast because that’s how events take their course once love’s core unravels. A word is said, offense taken, action and reaction, more words, slights, the inevitable inability to change course because the river on which this boat has launched is swifter than any propeller set to reverse direction, so that all is lost and the parties know it is lost before the tempestuous river starts to break the boat apart and suddenly the rapids consume everything before “good-bye” is spoken, and all they would have known or said is gone.
For more by and about Mark Beyer follow these links: sample or purchase the ebook of The Village Wit:
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/25306; purchase the print edition: https://www.createspace.com/3476161
Check out Mark’s websites: http://www.bibliogrind.com and http://www.european-city-parks.com
→Mark, thank you for the tour. And writer friends, View From the Keyboard has slowed some during the teaching year, but let me assure more is to come! In the meantime, I hope that you will consider contributing your own View. Guidelines here. -PMc←